EOCO, Food and Drugs Board must check the rice menace

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 Source: Fadi Dabbousi

The Food and Drugs Board must as a matter of expediency check the wholesalers of rice. It seems that an unethical canker is being silently played out on the Ghanaian. Dirty and unwholesome rice is put out on the market for sale to unsuspecting consumers who think that they are buying the product genuinely imported from Vietnam, China, or elsewhere. It is almost befuddling how majority of the rice found on the market is labelled “perfumed rice” that has no semblance of aromatic fragrance when cooked at all. As a connoisseur for good food and an appreciably “good” cook (as attested by those who have tasted of my culinary magic), I tend to cringe at the disgusting and unethical manner with which some importers take Ghanaian consumers for granted. In fact it is another form of insulting the faculty of the good people of this country.

Not too long ago, there was a hullabaloo about plastic rice. Of course, there is nothing of this sort because the chemical composition of plastic cannot make it possible to cook, not even with artificial modification. It just can’t happen. Maybe, in a few thousand years, when the whole of humanity has turned into witches and wizards, the possibility could be entertained, but as for now, plastic rice is just not possible.

However, what is possible is the importation of “too gyimi” rice and bagging it locally in labelled sacs to seem as if it is quality fragrance rice. There are numerous brands on the market that do not conform to standards, but are being sold to unsuspecting consumers as one thing when in reality they are another. I have heard numerous complaints that suggest that rice swept off the floor of warehouses (termed “sweeping rice”) is cleaned and bagged as fragrance rice. Even the non-fragrance US rice is sometimes mixed with bad quality rice in order to maximise profits.

I am told that these cases are known to some unscrupulous officials who just want to create disfavour for the FDB and its Boss. Let this be a warning to all the miscreants who think that they can sabotage the nation and go scot-free. Ghanaians are all too discerning now, and will not allow the machinations of a few individuals to connive with nation wreckers to destroy the gains that we have begun to chalk as a nation in most recent times. The CEPS must also sit up because it would seem that their corruption knows no limits and appreciates no bounds.

The matter of callous officers of CEPS (Customs Excise and Preventive Service) has been a national dilemma. Quite recently there was the alleged issue of forcing open containers and sharing items with importers against their free will. Even reefers of cheese and dairy products worth tens of thousands of US Dollars are said to be ransacked in a very corrupt manner. Actually, what is being discussed in the business circles is that so long as the CEPS persons are buyable, then anything is possible. Do you still wonder why Ibrahim Mahama was able to issue over 44 dud cheques to CEPS and go free? Meanwhile, people who may just fall short of a few hundred cedis to pay duty on vehicles or goods watch painfully as demurrage accumulates to add to the heartache of finally seeing someone come from nowhere and bid to buy them at 10% of their original price. Of course that is by collusion with officers and auctioneers. Their injustice brings so much pain to the backless Ghanaian. In Akan Parlance, it is said, “Aboa )ne dua, Nyame na 3pra ne ho,” to wit, “The animal that has no tail, GOD fans (the flies off) its skin.”

Nevertheless, the FDB and EOCO must sit up to check the collusion of CEPS and importers of food items into this country in order to reduce and nip this trend in the bud. The nation cannot continue to be taken for granted by greedy importers some being Ghanaian, and others foreigners. Theft and chicanery know no race, colour, or creed; they do not belong to ethics, morals, or sound judgment. That is why we need to form one body in the fight against corruption.

If care is not taken, one day, these business fraudsters in collusion with corrupt CEPS and other officials will package shit of all colours and label it Shit’o’. Then we all will smell pepper!!!

By: Fadi Dabbousi

Columnist: Fadi Dabbousi