19.05.2005 Business & Finance

MP calls on FDB to withdraw directive

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Accra, May 19, GNA - The Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, Mr Mahama Ayariga, on Thursday urged the Food and Drugs Board to withdraw its directive to importers of food products to a pay a fee to enable the board to undertake a manufacturing site verification programme outside the country.

The MP said the directive was "both illegal and unconstitutional" and beyond the powers of the Chief Executive of the board.

A statement by Mr Ayariga said under the constitution, it was parliament that could impose or authorise any such levies. The MP was responding to a letter dated April 29, from the Board to importers of food products, directing all foreign manufacturers of food products exported to Ghana and suppliers of such food products in Ghana to pay a sum of 10,000 dollars per brand per manufacturer/supplier. These manufacturers/suppliers are to pay seven thousand dollars per brand per manufacturer/supplier in the case of manufacturers with four or more brands or more to enable the board travel outside the country where these manufacturing companies are located and carrying out their activities for purposes of inspections.

According to Mr Ayariga, the board had directed that payment of these levies should be concluded by May 31, this year.

He said: "if there is the need for Food and Drugs Board to travel to foreign countries to inspect over 10,000 different manufacturing sites of over 10,000 products....imported into the Ghana they may do so. But if they have to raise money levies....then the board has to seek the approval of Parliament before it can do so."

"In this regard, I call on the Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Board, Mr E.K. Agyarko, to withdraw the directive or risk being embarrassed in court. Manufacturers and suppliers may ignore the directive since it has no legal basis," Mr Ayariga added.

Earlier, before the commencement of Public Business, Professor Michael Ocquaye, the Minister of Energy, told the house that the Ministry was committed to providing an efficient cost-effective energy and electricity supplies throughout the country.

He noted that there were problems such as unauthorised building sites, issuance of permits for building projects and the provision of social amenities and facilities, which were putting pressure on the provision of electricity.

The Minister, who was responding to concerns by members of parliament on the frequent power outages and efficiency in the supplies of powers, said some old and untreated electricity poles, which had collapsed has also compounded the problems.

The MPs raised these concerns in support of a statement made on the floor of the House by Mr John Gyetuah, NDC-Amenfi-West, who touched on the inefficient supplies in power and the difficulties facing members of his constituency.

Mr John Mahama, NDC-Bole-Bamboi, said electricity tariffs were so high and there was therefore the need for improvement in services else people would refuse to pay for any future increases in tariffs. Mr Albert Obbin, NPP-Prestea Huni Valley, urged the Electricity Company of Ghana, to see to adequate supplies of metres to bring sanity into the system supplies.

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