Business News of 2014-04-09

Ghana to ban rice, tomatoes, textiles & furniture imports

Government says it is considering banning the importation of rice, tomatoes, textiles and furniture into the country. This is part of measures to curb the country’s swelling trade deficit and ease pressure on the cedi.

The cedi has weakened by about 18 percent against the dollar this year alone. Ghana’s trade deficit from January to October 2013 was US$3.4billion.

Early on President Mahama announced that as part of long term measures toward reducing pressure on the local currency, government will reduce imports of food by over a billion dollars and will also develop the local capacity to produce such items.

Ghana currently spends about US$600m annually to import rice and an additional US$400m annually to import sugar, tomatoes, vegetable cooking oil, frozen fish, poultry and wheat.

According to the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, government will protect the various local sectors if they develop capacity to substitute imports.

‘We want to protect the local industry, local manufactures etc, and we also want to reduce our dependency on foreign goods and add value to local goods.

So whatever we are producing and improving locally we must make sure that we critically reduce the importation of those substitutes and also be more competitive on the international market.

So for now we are looking at rice, textiles timber and furniture later we will look at others’.