Mr Frederick Kyei, Special Advisor for Local Rice Production, has slammed the decision of Ministry of Trade and Industry to ban inland importation of rice, saying it is costing the country GH₵ 6.4 million a month.
He said averagely Ghana losses one million Ghana cedis every week, since the small scale rice importers pay revenue to the state at the inland entry points, based on the “bring in as you pay basis”.
Mr Kyei told Ghana News Agency in an interview on Tuesday that the foreign large scale rice importers however brings in the commodity through Tema and Takoradi ports and store the rice into customs bonded ware houses and only pay duty to the State when the goods are sold.
He denied the accusation of Small Scale Rice Dealers Association (SSRIDA) that he has connived with officials at the Trade Ministry as well as Ministry of Food and Agriculture to enforce the ban on inland rice importation asking: “Within the 18 months the policy was introduced do you know how much we are losing as a country?”
Mr Kyei who also described himself as a rice expert said there is no way he would support foreign importers of rice at the expense of Ghanaians since the indigenous traders are bread winners as well supporting the national economy.
“Frustrating the business of SSRIDA is not helping the economy and rather giving monopoly to foreign importers of rice leading to price hikes.”
He said as local rice producers they are only looking forward to the day when Ghana would be self sufficient to emulate the example of Nigeria by banning all imports of the commodity.
He said until that is done government must lift the ban to support the local traders to be in business.
Mr Kyei debunked claims by the foreign importers that they are into large scale production of rice in Ghana and challenged them to point out where such farms exist. GNA