Parliament on Thursday suspended the laying of the Legislative Instrument (L.I) intending to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, the Minister of Trade and Industry, announced during a press briefing in Parliament on Monday, November 20, that he would lay an L.I on behalf of the Government on Tuesday, November 21 targeting about 20 commodities.
However, during Thursday’s Proceedings, presided by Speaker Mr Alban Bagbin, he ruled that Mr Hammond dealt with concerns relating to the L.I before it was laid before the House.
“Leadership, try to resolve these matters before we move on because we are dealing with instruments. And you know the impact of these instruments; that is why I am saying we should try and resolve them,” he said.
“Laying of an instrument has nothing to do with numbers, but because of the nature of the instrument you laid and the constitutional and legal effects of the laying, you better meet, discuss and resolve the issues before we move on,” the Speaker said.
Mr Bagbin’s ruling was necessitated following demands by the Minority Caucus on Mr Hammond, the Sector Minister, to further engage the group on the concerns surrounding the L.I.
The Caucus, led by Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, Minority Leader, explained that the regulation was not in the best interest of the country.
Among the items the Government intended to restrict are rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie”) and diapers.
“…Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (“yemuadie”), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items,” Mr Hammond said at the press conference.
“We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He said the restrictions were not meant to deprive the country of some specific foods but form part of the Government’s efforts to ensure that “we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed ourselves.”
“There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers,” the Minister said.