Accra, Nov 30, GNA - Dr Amarquaye Laryea, an Economist, on Tuesday called for improvement in the investment infrastructure to make local production competitive and ensure that trade liberalisation was fair to both local and imported goods.
He called on policy makers to fashion a trade policy that would address problems of water supply, electricity, transportation and telecommunication facilities that local producers faced in order to create a level playing field for locally produced goods to compete effectively with imported ones.
Dr Laryea made the observation at a day's workshop in Accra to discuss the report findings of a Trade Policy research study dubbed " Talking Trade- Communities making trade policy in Ghana". The Social Enterprise Development Foundation of West Africa (SEND), which co-ordinated the one and half-year study in 2003, said the study examined ways in which low-income producers, traders and consumers of agricultural produce in Ghana might be brought into the process of formulating a trade policy.
Ghana is now in the process of fashioning a national trade policy and the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), an advocacy organisation based in Accra wanted the research to put poor people's need's at the centre of economic policy-making in Ghana. Dr Laryea, who is also with the Economics Department of the University of Ghana, said trade liberalisation could lead to poverty reduction but noted that local producers globally did not like foreign competition because of the uneven environment.
He stressed access to credit as very necessary in the formulation of trade policy.
"But question is who provides these things, is it Government or Government should empower the private sector to do that? Dr Laryea asked, saying: "If a trade policy is to have a maximum impact, then sequencing is very important."
He called for a better organisation of primary producers, mostly farmers, in ensuring stability of prices and other market conditions, adding that the concern of the urban consumer was the availability of products on the market and the predictability of the market. The Chief Executive Officer of SEND, Mr Siapha Kamara, said the report indicated that producing for the export market should not be done at the exclusion of the domestic market.
He said it emphasised that Ghana should focus on 15 crops, including soybean, which had the capacity to generate funds from the local and export markets.
Mr Kamara said it was necessary to involve the poor farmers and consumers in making policies and announced that SEND would soon start an extensive education to create awareness on the international trade protocols and economic partnerships among the people to make effective inputs.