Ghana can look within Africa for trade to subvert fall of cedi to dollar - Louis Yaw Afful

Louis Yaw Afful Yy.png Trade practitioner and AfCFTA Consultant, Louis Yaw Afful

Fri, 11 Nov 2022 Source: Eye on Port

Trade practitioner and AfCFTA Consultant, Louis Yaw Afful has opined that the need for an import substitution policy in Ghana is long overdue.

According to him, a large chunk of the country’s imports is food-related products and commodities, making it necessary to concentrate on local food production for starters.

Speaking on the Eye on Port program, Mr. Afful who is the Executive Director of the APN Group, said Ghana as a country can look within its borders for the production of food with the support of economic policies that promote local production and exports while discouraging imports.

He went on further to say that if Ghana cannot quickly produce to cater for local demand, the nation could take advantage of the benefits AfCFTA presents.

“At the end of the day, we can try with some of the commodities like rice. We do not need to look far beyond Africa. We can look within the AfCFTA member states and find out who can give us a comparative advantage then we can trade with them. The good news is that with the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) you do not need the dollar or forex, you can trade in your own local currency and the recipient receives it in his or her local currency,” he averred.

The AfCFTA strategist says not only will it save the falling cedi, but it will support local industries and feed into the Pan-African agenda intended to strengthen African economies.

He said the Ghana government can commence by giving local industries stimulus packages to encourage local production of selected commodities.

He likened this proposal to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic where “in the United States for example where they had a national policy where companies with the productive capacity where called upon to temporarily abandon production of their core products and begin production of COVID-support products and they were supported heavily for this. We can take that approach. Can we examine the supply chain right from the farms and support these industries to produce for domestic consumption and export?”

He emphasized that it is no brainer that, overcapacity in selected food commodities will positively affect the price of goods on the market and the plight of the ordinary consumer will be alleviated.

Mr. Louis Yaw Afful said this while touching on President Nana Addo’s statement on the government’s intention to review the standards required for imports into the country.

The President of the Republic during his address to the public on the national economic crisis stated that “in May 2023, that is six (6) months from now, review the standards for imports into the country”.

Nana Akufo Addo said Ghana, “as a matter of urgent national security, will reduce our dependence on imported goods.”

The President hinted at rice, poultry, vegetable oil, toothpicks, pasta, fruit juice, bottled water and ceramic tiles as focus products.

According to the Executive Director of the APN Group, Louis Yaw Afful, the implementation process for this review should begin immediately.

“The ministries and agencies under the President, by the time he had finished speaking, should be able to have a plan in place that aligns with what he said. They should have an inter-ministerial approach to dealing with this,” he expressed.

He says a similar inter-ministerial, inter-agency approach was adopted during the rollout of the National AfCFTA policy and Action Plan which he lauded.

Source: Eye on Port