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Pwalugu Tomato Factory rots due to successive govts’ failure on import substitution policies

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The Bank of Ghana has withdrawn foreign exchange support to customers for the importation of certain non-critical or essential goods. The goods affected include rice, poultry, vegetable oils, toothpicks, pasta, fruit juice, bottled water and ceramic tiles.

An electronic message from the Bank of Ghana to the banks read “in accordance with the President [Akufo-Addo] directive issued at his recent address to the nation on the Ghanaian economy, on Sunday 30th October, 2022, the Bank of Ghana will no longer provide FX support for the imports of rice, poultry, vegetable oils, toothpicks, pasta, fruit juice, bottled water, ceramic tiles and other non-critical goods”.

“Please be advised and act accordingly”, it pointed out.

When Bismark Osei, a Lecturer at the C.K Tedam University for Technology and Applied Science (UTAS) spoke to Mark Smith on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show today, Friday, November 18, 2022, he explained that the designation of some of the products as non-critical goods raises serious concerns.

“When you look at it, they are talking about rice, poultry and other things. Who decided that those things are not critical? If you look at the ceramic tiles and some of the other things and they say that they are not critical, they are right but if you look at rice and poultry and they’re saying it is not critical, it would have an effect towards Christmas. There should be a lot of rudimental steps to ensure that these strategies are sustainable.”

Poultry farmers are however ecstatic about the news. They saw the withdrawal of support for imports would enhance local businesses George Dassah spoke to Mark Smith on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show. 

“From all of us in the poultry industry, we would say it is good news in the sense that the importation of poultry products into the country is collapsing the industry. I would quote one Nigerian man who said anytime we import a truckload of chicken into the country, we are importing a truckload of unemployment. This is good news.”

When Emmanuel Wullo Wullingdool, an Agriculture Policy Consultant spoke on the same issue wit A1 Radio’s Mark Smith, he agreed with the poultry farmers’ position on the matter explaining that it was good news. The decision, if upheld, would boost local production. 

Mr. Wullingdool however expressed some disquiet about the failure of successive governments to further import substitution policies that were introduced by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He opined that, were the policies implemented with commitment, Ghana’s local production would have outstripped demand. 

“If you look at our economic history, right after independence, the newly independent government led by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah dropped these import substitution policies. That was the key driver of his government. In light of that, we had the state farmers. We had the Pwalugu Tomato Factory. We had the meat processing factory at Zuarungu and a number of agriculture based industries across the country and they were linked to the raw material production centres.”

“All was done to move us away from the Guggisberg kind of economy. I would say we have been there before,” he recounted. 

In Mr. Wullingdool opinion, “with import substitution policies, we have done a bit of going back and forth with it. If we had sustained what we started with, we would have been more self-sufficient.”

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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