Trade Ministry Accused Of Collapsing Rice Industry

Haruna Iddrisu PixMembers of Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of the Ghana (SSRIDA-GH), has accused the Ministry of Trade and industry of collapsing their businesses in order to promote foreign trade.­

SSRIDA-GH said the ministry had deliberately instituted policies that encouraged more foreign traders into the country, while gradually flushing out small scale businesses.­ 

A statement issued by Mr. Yaw Korang, Coordinator of SSRIDA-GH, in Accra on Tuesday and copied to the Ghana News Agency, claimed that the phenomenon had contributed to the depreciation of the cedi. ­

It said if national policies were favouring foreign traders then the government could not be exonerated from the current economic crises.­

The statement spoke against the banning of inland importation of rice by the ministry, when local traders ran small scale businesses with minimum capital and, therefore, could not afford to transport their goods by air or sea.­

“We feel it is failure on the part of government for not doing its homework well to find out about our capital base and whether we are in a position to transport our goods by using plane or ship, before instituting a policy that sends us back home with empty hands and nothing in our pockets, while our bankers are chasing us,” it said.­

It said although different platforms had been used to draw the ministry’s attention to the harm the ban has caused “authorities at the ministry had put a deaf ear to our cry”. ­

The statement said the monopoly given to foreign traders had led to the high cost of living which had affected the prices of foodstuffs.­     “Now 45 kilos of local rice which used to be GH¢70 is now GH¢110, 25kilos of perfumed rice which used to be GH¢87 is now sold at GH¢115.” ­

The statement referred to a warning Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) sent to   foreigners involved in retail trade to leave the market by the end of this month, which attributed the continuous depreciation of the cedi to the large foreign influx in retail trade.­

According to GUTA, the infiltration of foreigners into the economy contradicts Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, adding that all attempts to get foreigners out of the retail trade through legislation had proven futile.­

The statement said the country should not get to a point where foreigners take over the market while the appropriate authorities whose duty was to ensure that this did not happen looked on. ­

SSRIDA-GH said it would not hesitate to support GUTA and any other groups that demonstrate against the status quo.­

The statement called on President John Dramani Mahama to monitor the country’s trade policies, which it said was making the government unpopular among traders and also affecting the economy. ­—GNA­



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