The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IAEAG) yesterday revealed that there was an influx of smuggled wheat flour into the Ghanaian markets.
The Executive Secretary of the association, Mr Samson AsakiAwingobit, who disclosed this at a press conference in Accra, said the influx of foreign wheat flour into the markets was destroying the Ghanaian markets.
He, therefore, called on FDA and the other agencies to as a matter of urgency go to the aid of Ghanaian wheat flour producers by banning or clamping down on these smuggled flour to save the local flour milling companies in the country.
“Those wheat flour comes with cheap prices making it easily accessible in all the markets, hence was one of the common commodities consumed in every Ghanaian household on an average day, whether as bread, pastries and pancakes,” he said.
Mr Awingobit explained that as much as they headed the IAEAG, it was also their duty to look out for the safety of Ghanaians and draw the attention of other agencies to check products that came to the country through unapproved entry points.
According to him, the country did more of imports than exports and that was causing most of the illegal activities in the country which was why there was the need for more surveillance at the markets.
“The imported wheat flours which are smuggled through unapproved routes into the country from neighbouring African countries also come with foreign languages inscribed on the bag or jute sack, making it difficult to even identify their expiration date,” he said.
Mr Awingobit expressed concern that majority of those foreign wheat flours in the Ghanaian market space did not have either the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) or the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) seal on them.
Revealing that Cote d’Ivoire flour millers have been granted exemption from payment of duty or taxes on imports for 90 days, with a ban on the exportation of the flour produced under the exemption to other countries.
However, the flour has found its way into the Ghanaian market and was sold less than almost 50 per cent of the Ghanaian produced flour in the market, making the Ghanaian market have low patronage.
Mr Awingobit highlighted that because the country’s boarders were porous, those who imported the wheat flour through dubious ways did not pay any taxes, fees, levies, and other charges on their products.
“This influx of wheat flour is affecting the flour milling industry in Ghana especially the local currency’s sharp depreciation against the US dollar and other major trading currencies,” he stated.
“Government must also create an enabling environment for the local flour milling industry to work at ease and stand a better chance to compete with neighbouring countries,” he appealed.
BY ANITA ANKRAH