Trade Minister to lay import restrictions bill in Parliament today


The Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond, is expected to lay before Parliament today the Export and Import Regulations 2023.

Parliament on Tuesday deferred the laying of the legislative instrument, which seeks to restrict the importation of 22 selected strategic products such as sugar, rice, poultry, and tripe into the country.

This was the third time the policy document had suffered a setback in Parliament.

The move was to afford the Sector Minister an opportunity to engage the Minority caucus on some amendments made to the legislative instrument.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has urged Parliament to support the laying of the LI to assist the government in its quest to curb the country’s import drive.

Meanwhile, the Minority Leader, Cassiel Ato Forson, has reiterated that his group will not budge on their demand for a proper vote on the 2024 budget before the budget estimates are considered by Parliament.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, had declared a voice vote in favour of the majority’s approval of the budget presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to the house on Wednesday.

However, the Minority insisted on a headcount, forcing the Majority caucus to stage a walkout on the approval process.

In an interview with Bernard Avle on the Citi Breakfast Show on Citi FM on Thursday, Dr. Ato Forson emphasized the Minority’s stance on the matter.

“The budget as we speak has not been approved…in fact this morning we will insist that the budget be put to a proper vote.

“I am going to ensure that the NDC Minority will not countenance any estimate on the floor because the budget policy has not been approved and the estimates cannot come to the floor until the budget is properly considered,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and MP for Karaga, maintained that the Budget had been duly approved by the Speaker.

According to him, as far as the majority caucus is concerned, the budget has been passed following the declaration of the voice vote by the Speaker.

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on Wednesday also expressed fury about the Speaker’s actions, pointing out, “You were all there; you heard the Speaker loud and clear. Why should a Speaker beat such a hasty retreat from what he has said? In this case, he said the ‘ayes’ have it. Then you have the Speaker making a sudden U-turn that he didn’t add that the ‘ayes’ have it. He just expressed an opinion. And that’s most unfortunate. So, we think that the proper thing should be done.”

“We agreed to the headcount; what was he waiting for? For about 30 minutes, he was not doing anything. What kind of attitude is this? That is why we left the chamber. Five MPs of the Minority were not here, so all that he was doing was to buy more time to enable them to find a way into the chamber.”

During an interview on Eyewitness News, the MP for Tolon, Habib Iddrisu, also reiterated that the budget had been approved.