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Import restrictions bill suffers another setback in Parliament, deferred to Nov. 30

The Import Restrictions Bill, championed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, KT Hammond, suffered another setback in Parliament today, November 28, 2023, after the sector minister was prevented from laying the Legislative Instrument (LI) in the house.

This is the third time the Minister has been prevented from laying the LI in Parliament.

If approved, the Export and Import (Restrictions on Importation of Selected Strategic Product) Regulations, 2023, will restrict the importation of 22 selected strategic goods into the country.

KT Hammond was hopeful of laying the LI today after holding pre-laying meetings with the Caucus of the House, but his hopes were dashed after the Minority vehemently resisted the move.

The Minority had insisted that several business groups had petitioned Parliament to reject the LI; hence, their concerns must be addressed.

The Minority also argued that the LI was dangerous and would adversely affect several businesses in the country.

Minority Chief Whip, Ibrahim Ahmed, for instance, said the government should hasten slowly with the LI, while former Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, complained that affected countries could institute retaliatory measures against Ghana.

The Minority Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, said, “Mr. Speaker, the matter is a very serious one that hinges on the survival of businesses in this country. Mr. Speaker, we are not just objecting, and care should be taken. Let’s reflect on the serious issues that have been raised on this floor, and the minority has raised objections. Which of them didn’t go back to come and fight for this country? And this is one of them.”

“Mr. Speaker, just yesterday, six associations—Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA), Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG), and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI)—wrote a petition, having confidence in members of this house, that we should take that petition into consideration.”

Although the sector minister, KT Hammond, tried to assuage the fears of the Minority, saying most of the concerns raised by the Minority had been captured in an updated draft policy document, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, proceeded to defer the laying of the bill to Thursday, November 30, 2023.

He directed the Minister to make the updated draft policy document available to members of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee so that all concerns could be addressed before the document is tabled in the House to prevent any further delay.

The draft policy will mature 21 days after it is laid in Parliament.

CNR

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