The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is accusing President Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, of attempting to bring back 'kalabule' (cleaver bully, conditional sales, or restricted sales) in Ghana through import restrictions.
The Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, said the Legislative Instrument (L.I) on the Export and Import (Restrictions on Importation of Selected Strategic Product) Regulations, 2023) has the capacity to bring corruption in the country.
The L.I is seeking to regulate the importation of about 22 items, including poultry, rice, sugar, and diapers to seek licences from a committee to be set up by the minister.
"Simply put, the proposed Import Restrictions Regulations of the failed Akufo-Addo/Bawumia NPP government, seeks to grant unchecked discretionary power to the Minister for Trade, to solely determine whether or not, to issue an import license to a person and to restrict the quantity of certain imports into the country, as he deems fit," he explained.
For him, the regulatory framework proposed by the LI is not only opaque, but can lend itself to arbitrariness and abuse, adding "This clearly, is going to be an avenue for extortion and corruption if allowed to stand."
Dr Ato Forson further said the NDC holds the view that the right to import essential commodities into the country cannot be limited to the whims and caprices of a Minister of Trade and Industry, his deputy or a certain Import Permit Committee, which will be constituted by the Minister under Regulation (2) of the proposed regulations.
That, he noted, the proposed regulations gravely offend some international trade treaties and protocols that Ghana is a party to, pointing out that the regulation in its current form contravenes the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade facilitation agreement, particularly on quantitative restrictions.
He added, "This could lead to serious retaliatory action by our trade partners and eventually, affect exports from Ghana."