Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, has raised concerns about the high levels of importation of goods into the country.
In 2018, a total of USD1.35 billion was spent on the importation of rice into Ghana.
Currently, flowers are being imported into the country thrice a week, a situation the Senior Minister described as absurd and unacceptable.
Addressing a gathering on behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo at the opening of the National Festival of Arts and Culture in Koforidua, Mr. Osafo Maafo called on Ghanaians to support government to end the trend.
“When I was the Minister of Finance, Ghana spent USD300 million on rice and we were complaining, the late Major Courage Quashigah was the Minister of Agriculture and he promised to reduce it to zero after 4 years but it was never achieved. Indeed, after 4 years, our rice import bill went from USD300 million to USD700 million”.
“Last year, 2018, Ghana spent USD1.35 billion on the importation of rice, can you imagine– with the type of land we have, even in the forest areas the lowlands can grow rice to feed ourselves. As you go up to the north and fly over to Tamale you will see greenery flatlands that can produce rice for West Africa and we spent USD1.35 billion of our scarce foreign exchange resources to import rice”.
“I have not added the importation of chicken and even fruits and flowers, Ghana is now airlifting flowers from South Africa to Kotoka about 3 times a week. Is it right, can we continue this way? Certainly not, because we have all the gifts of riches and we need the leadership that will take us from this dependency that, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is providing and we should have all hands on deck to go on the Ghana Beyond Aid mindset”.
Let’s feed ourselves
The Senior Minister urged Ghanaians to help move the Ghanaian economy from an import-dependent one to export-driven.
“Let us at least feed ourselves, let’s export enough, earn enough to put our roads right. Everybody is complaining about bad roads network and it is a fact but how do you repair your roads, should we be going out asking for loans to do all our roads or we should be earning revenue from our resources to repair our roads”.
“The second is the alternative, we must out of our own resources earn enough to put our roads right, fix our road network, to create employment for ourselves and even our culture when properly mounted we can earn enough to fix our roads,” he added.
Cedi weakened by high importation of poultry products – UDS Professor
Ghanaians continue to raise concerns about the depreciation of the Ghanaian Cedi against the US Dollar.
The Director of Quality Assurance at the University for Development Studies (UDS), Professor Herbert Kwabla Dei in 2018 explained that the high importation of poultry products could account for the depreciation of the Cedi against the US Dollar.
“The high importation of poultry from the USA and Europe is partly responsible for the weakening of the Ghanaian currency. The excessive importation of poultry and poultry products from the two strongest economies of the world is not too good for a developing economy such as Ghana which equally has the potential to produce in high quantity if giving the necessary governmental support,” he said.
Prof. Professor Herbert Kwabla Dei raised the concern when he delivered a paper on the topic, “The food and poultry sustainability question: the role of nutrition research.”
Our imports not a nuisance; we can’t do without importation – GUTA
Meanwhile, the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) had said Ghana cannot do without importation.
“On the contrary, most of us want to migrate into manufacturing,” GUTA’s President, Joseph Obeng, said on the Citi Breakfast Show in April 2019.
Mr. Obeng explained further that importers only seek to supplement what is produced in Ghana.
“It is the shortfall of what we do not produce here, that is what we seek [to import] from outside to supplement what is being made here.”
The GUTA President added that “most of the people who are doing manufacturing now migrated from trading.”
“I don’t want us to create the impression that we are just being the nuisance people and bring the goods. We are in a global world and we cannot do away with importation. Even the American and European countries do importations.”
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