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04.02.2009 Editorial

Trade policy must be reviewed

By The Chronicle

One of the major concerns of the Ghanaian businessman today is how to cope with the trade liberalisation policy that was introduced by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government and supported by all the successive governments. Through this policy most Ghanaian companies are now on the verge of collapsing because they are unable to cope with the cheap imports into the country.

A few months back, members of the Ghana Poultry Farmers Association were complaining about their businesses, which were about to collapse due to the cheap imports of chicken products into the country. As we have carried elsewhere in today's edition of this paper, petty traders in Sekondi-Takoradi have also raised concern about the flooding of the Ghanaian market with all kinds of inferior products, which is affecting their business.

With the hue and cry about this policy, The Chronicle thinks the time has come for the government to have a second look at the entire policy of Trade Liberalisation. Michael Toh, a Singaporean business tycoon once described Trade Liberalization as “a plus for consumers but bad for the traditional suppliers, since with liberalisation, new technology players can come into existing market place unless the traditional suppliers make quick decisions to adopt new methodologies of doing their work”.

This alone should tell us that though the policy has some kind of advantages, the side effect far outweighs its positives. The countries where these cheap products are imported from in the name of trade liberalisation, have themselves put in place high subsidy for their domestic productions, which we are not doing in Ghana. We should not be seen to be creating employment for people outside, whilst businesses are collapsing with its concomitant loss of jobs in the country.

The Chronicle is not calling for absolute monopoly for the local industries. We however, think some kind of cushioning would help to keep the local industries in business. Using our scanty resources to import cheap products that can easily be produced in Ghana is certainly not the best of practices that we must encourage.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."