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17.03.2009 General News

Tariff regimes needed to protect industries –Isaac Osei


THE MEMBER of Parliament (MP) for Subin, Mr. Isaac Osei, has stressed the need for the government to adjust tax and tariff regimes, in order to assist Ghanaian enterprises.

This, he noted, would not only protect infant industries, but also give opportunity for ailing industries to be reactivated in the country, and contribute to ensuring economic stability.

“The government can do a little better in assisting Ghanaian enterprises, by coming up with tax and tariff regimes, which not only protect infant industries, but provide opportunities for ailing industries to be reactivated,” he suggested.

The Subin MP stated in an interview with The Chronicle in Kumasi, that it was the duty of the government to provide the requisite environment for private sector operators, especially those in the manufacturing industries, to operate profitably.

Mr. Osei, who is also a ranking member of the Select Committees for the Trade, Industries and Tourism sectors, said while commenting on the 2009 Budget statement, as presented by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, that it was extremely important that we have economic stability, and urged the government to do something about the depreciation of the cedi, which has fallen by 40%, in order to bring about some level of stability.

MP Osei said he was disappointed that no new measures had been put in place in the Budget to assist existing but tottering industries, in spite of the promises made in the NDC manifesto, to revive ailing and collapsed industries.

He said in order to assist the Ghanaian manufacturing sector, it was necessary to examine the existing tax and tariff regimes, with a view of adjusting to support the local industries.

According to him, Ghana does not appear to have a framework to deal with the dumping of foreign goods on the local market, and called on the government to use policy measures, which are consistent with the World Trade Organisation rules and regulations, to ensure that Ghanaian industries are able to compete in their own    domestic markets.

He expressed his disappointment at the allocation of only GH¢3.7 million to the Ministry of Tourism, in spite of the fact that this sector had become an important foreign  exchange earner, which as well contributes to employment and Government revenue.

The MP also decried the removal of the Freddie Ayim Paragliding Event, which livened the Kwahu Scarp and excited the imagination of the entire country, from the Tourism calendar.

According to MP Osei, the Budget was realistic to some extent, in that it was not ambitious.

He said upon the promises of the government, it was expected that processing facilities for sheanut of up to 50,000 tonnes capacity in the three Northern regions, and the provision of support for the establishment of a sugar factory, were provided.