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Govt won’t ban imports – Alan Kyeremanten

The government has ruled out the possibility of imposing bans on the importation of certain goods that can be produced locally. In the quest to protect local industries, there have been several calls from local manufacturers for the government to consider banning products that could be manufactured in the country.

However, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten, responding to questions from Parliaments Appointment Committee, said the NPP government would not consider such option, but would rather empower the local industries  to compete with the foreign companies.

“We will provide support to the local private industries to be competitive with the foreign companies so that Ghanaians would naturally patronise local products,” he stated.

He explained that the regional and sub-regional trade agreements did not allow for a total ban on foreign imports.

He said the government would, however, ensure that the country did not turn into a dumping site where foreigners would dump sub-standard goods.

Mr Kyeremanten also pointed out that, when given the nod by Parliament, he would intensify sensitisation campaigns for made in Ghana goods and services.

‘I will also ensure that the local content regulations are fully implemented and will also advocate for the use of government procurement as a means to procure local goods and services,” he noted.

Interest rates

The Minister designate also suggested that the government worked closely with the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to reduce the policy rates.

He believed this would help reduce interest rates in the country.

“Interest rate is one of the critical challenges facing industries in the country and what determines the interest rates are the policy rates from the BoG since it sets the floor at which commercial banks borrow from the central bank,” he stated.

He also believed that the implementation of other key government interventions would also help reduce the risk profile of companies and thereby reduce the interest rates charged by the commercial banks.

EPA agreement

ECOWAS has failed to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement, which is a trade agreement between West African countries and the European Union.

This is because West Africa’s economic powerhouse, Nigeria, has raised issues with certain terms of the agreement and therefore decided not to sign.

Mr Kyeramanten said he would therefore advise President Akuffo Addo to use tact and diplomacy to get Nigeria to sign up to the EPA.

“The architecture of the EPA requires that the agreement be negotiated and signed by the regional bloc and for that matter, Nigeria should be impressed upon to live up to its international obligations to get the process completed,” he said.

He, however, indicated that, getting a dedicated EPA for Ghana would require a joint effort between the office of the President, Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

AGOA

Responding to questions on how he was going to maximise the country’s opportunities under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), Mr Kyeremanten said he would help identify potential products that country  could  export to the American market.

He said he would also provide support to the companies that would produce such products to enable them meet the required standards and also facilitate the transit of such goods to their final destinations in order not to compromise the quality of the products.

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