Business News of 2014-01-21

Rice importers, sellers appeal to gov't

The Association of Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire Rice Importers and Sellers (based in Kumasi) is appealing to the government to take a critical decision on the ban on rice importation from Cote d’Ivoire, a neighbouring country.
Making the appeal through the Daily Graphic in Kumasi, the Organiser of the association, Mr Yaw Korang, said the association wanted the government to reconsider its decision to ban rice importation from Cote d’Ivoire. The ban on the importation of rice from Cote d’Ivoire is expected to take effect from January 2014.
He said the ban would cause unemployment, since a large number of rice importers and related workers would lose their jobs.
He also said that the ban would help the Finatrade Group of Companies (an importer of rice) to monopolise the system.
His appeal comes in the wake of a comment made by a corporate affairs director of Finatrade that members of the association did not pay the required taxes on their rice imports, making the state lose $40 million every year.
Mr Korang described the comment as ‘unfortunate,’ adding that the association had been paying its taxes, and challenged Finatrade and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to check the records from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
He noted that before the ban came into force, prices of imported rice from Cote d’Ivoire were moderate and affordable.
He also noted that rice was a foodstuff that every household depended on almost every day, and lamented the situation where the government would ban rice importation from neigbhouring countries and the poor would not be able to afford it.
He further noted that mostly, there had been delays in the importation of bags of rice that were not from neighbouring countries and that should the government place the ban, many poor families were likely to be the ones to suffer the most.
He, however, called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, take a critical decision on the placing of the ban and called on the general public to rally behind the association to stop it.