KT Hammond’s Import Restriction Bill has once again hit a snag in Parliament today, Tuesday, November 28, 2023, after the Trade and Industry Minister attempted laying the Legislative Instrument in Parliament.
Today’s setback makes it the third time the Adansi Asokwa Member of Parliament who doubles as the Trade and Industry minister has failed to lay the L.I in the House.
If approved, the Export and Import (Restrictions on Importation of Selected Strategic Product) Regulations, 2023, will restrict the importation of 22 selected strategic goods into the country.
After having pre-laying engagements with the caucus of the House, Kobina Tahir Hammond was hopeful of laying the L.I but got disappointed after the Minority vehemently opposed it on the floor.
The Minority had insisted that several business groups had petitioned Parliament to reject the LI; hence, their concerns must be addressed.
It also argued that the L.I, if passed, will adversely affect several businesses in the country.
Whilst former Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu feared that the bill could cause affected countries to institute retaliatory measures against Ghana, Minority Chief Whip, Ibrahim Ahmed, asked government to hasten slowly with the L.I.
The Minority Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, said, “Mr. Speaker, the matter is a very serious one that hinges on the survival of businesses in this country. Mr. Speaker, we are not just objecting, and care should be taken. Let’s reflect on the serious issues that have been raised on this floor, and the minority has raised objections. Which of them didn’t go back to come and fight for this country? And this is one of them.”
“Mr. Speaker, just yesterday, six associations—Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA), Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG), and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI)—wrote a petition, having confidence in members of this house, that we should take that petition into consideration.”
Despite the sector minister’s move to convince the caucus that the fears raised by the various stakeholders have been addressed in the updated draft, Speaker Alban Bagbin deferred the laying to Thursday, November 30, 2023.
He directed the Minister to make the updated draft policy document available to members of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee so that all concerns could be addressed before the document is tabled in the House to prevent any further delay.
The draft policy will mature 21 days after it is laid in Parliament.