Business News of 2014-01-03

Trade Ministry lifts ban on rice importation by land

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has lifted the ban on importation of rice through the country’s borders.

The decision was taken after the Ministry considered a petition received from the Ghana-Ivory Coast Rice Importers to enable them clear the commodity.

A statement signed by Nana Akrasi Sarpong, Acting Director of Communication and Public Affairs at the Ministry and copied to Ghana News Agency on Thursday said, the lifting of the ban would assist importers who have made financial commitments or advance payment for rice from their suppliers abroad.

The Trade Ministry served notice to importers of rice in October, 2013 stating that "with effect from 1st November, 2013, all imports of rice shall be done through only the Kotoka International Airport, Tema and Takoradi Ports."

The Ministry's directive among other things warned that "importation of rice through all land frontiers shall be illegal," and "any person who imports rice through any port other than the declared Ports commits an offence and shall be prosecuted, and in addition have such imports confiscated."

The policy, according to the Trade Ministry was "intended to provide a framework of administrative procedures through which the numerous unfair trade practices including evasion of import duties and other taxes, under-invoicing, infringement of trademarks, and smuggling shall be controlled."

But Thursday January 2014's statement said that policy exists no more.

A stakeholders' meeting between officials of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Rice Importers and officials from the Ministry have been schedule for Tuesday, January 7.

The meeting, according to the Trade Ministry, is expected to comprehensively review the importation of rice through the Ivory Coast border and assess whether the importers pay the requisite duties or not.

Prior to the meeting the Ministry has charged GRA to ensure that the required taxes are paid at the country's borders to enable the Government realise the needed revenue for national development.