Professor Joseph Osafo has called on the government to hold stakeholder consultation with the Joint Business Consultative Forum, which includes the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, and four other associations.
The consultation is aimed at addressing concerns related to the proposed Legislative Instrument (L.I) that seeks to restrict food imports into the country.
The Minister of Trade, Kobina Tahir Hammond, has been advocating for the legislation, asserting that it would contribute to the appreciation of the cedi and foster the growth of local businesses.
The bill, if enacted, will impose restrictions on various food commodities, including rice, fruit juice, margarine, cement, fish, sugar, and 16 other products described as "strategic products" by the government.
However, the Joint Business Consultative Forum, consisting of several business associations such as the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG), and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), vehemently opposes the bill.
They have submitted a petition to Parliament, urging the rejection of the proposed legislation.
Expressing their concerns, the associations argued that the import restrictions could lead to a monopolistic or oligopolistic market situation, favoring a few select businesses and disadvantaged smaller enterprises.
They contended that the proposed permit system might impede the smooth flow of goods into the country, as importers would lose the flexibility to respond to market demands.
During a discussion on Peace FM's "Kokrokoo" show, Professor Joseph Osafo, a Senior Psychologist, appealed to the government to suspend the passage of the bill and engage in comprehensive consultations with stakeholders.
He stated, “I plead with GUTA and the other stakeholders not to kick against it but I agree with them that this is too hasty. Let's hold a stakeholder consultation to address the issues.”