15.04.2005 General News

Re-instate 40% duty on imported poultry - group

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Accra, April 15, GNA - Civil Society Groups at a round table discussion on Friday called on Government to re-instate the import duties on finished poultry products in support of local producers. The groups, comprising the poultry farmers association, the Trades Union Congress, General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) and Third World Network - Africa, questioned why government refused to implement a previous Act, which sought to protect the farmers.

Act 641 passed in 2003 raised tariffs from 20 to 40 per cent on imported finished poultry products to protect the domestic industry from unfair competition. However, this was not implemented and government in recent times has withdrawn the law.

Speaking at day's workshop on unbridled trade liberalization on food security in developing countries, Mr Kofi Agyei-Henaku, Executive Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers, said government should facilitate domestic production, rather than compromise with IFM/World Bank directives.

"We call on Ghanaians to see the question of economic policy support for domestic industry as a fundamental issue for the overall development of our economy, which goes beyond specific sectors like poultry and rice sector alone."

Mr Agyei-Henaku said the neglect to the domestic poultry, rice and other industries, especially under instructions of the international financial institutions, was part of a wider disregard for the need for effective policy, which promotes domestic productive capacity. He called on government to help industries to promote economic activities in other sectors of the economy through the provision of jobs, income and a market for other producers.

Mr Agyei-Henaku said the government must live up to its obligation to protect the sovereignty of Ghana over policy and decision-making and interference from the World Bank and IMF.

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