The Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond, has expressed his feeling of betrayal by the Minority in Parliament regarding the laying of a Legislative Instrument (L.I) aimed at restricting the import of 22 strategic products.
In an interview with JoyNews' Evans Mensah on Monday, November 27, Mr Hammond revealed that a consensus had been reached with the Minority for the laying of the L.I, which included restrictions on items such as rice, poultry, motor cars, and more.
He stated that during a meeting chaired by Dominic Ayine, the Minority Subsidiary Committee added modifications to the proposed L.I.
Despite their concerns about specific items, the conclusion was that “subject to these suggestions they have raised, they were quite happy,” said Mr Hammond.
Reading from the Committee's report, he emphasized that they found no reason to believe that the two draft regulations were outside the constitutional parameters and the Standing Orders of Parliament.
Mr. Hammond expressed his disappointment, accusing the Minority of duplicity for opposing the L.I. after the consensus was reached. He stated, “You get upset and at the end of the day, you think they are stabbing you in the back,” confirming that he felt betrayed.
Responding to whether he had been betrayed, Mr. Hammond affirmed, mentioning that he was not supposed to pre-lay the L.I before the House, but he agreed to proceed despite his belief that it did not make sense.
He disclosed that the Minister had prepared a document seeking redress in the High Court because Parliament doesn't sit in an adjudicative capacity.
In the midst of these developments, six business associations, under the Joint Business Consultative Forum, submitted a petition to Parliament urging the rejection of the proposed import restrictions bill.
The forum, consisting of groups such as the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, and others, argue that the bill, if enacted, would have detrimental effects on their businesses.
The petition, dated Sunday, November 26, expressed concerns about potential price impacts, disruptions to the free flow of goods, and potential harm to businesses.
The proposed L.I aim to restrict the importation of strategic products, including rice, motor cars, clothing, and more.
The Minority has objected to the regulation, citing concerns about the excessive power it grants to the Minister of Trade and Industry.