Small scale rice dealers appeal to Spio Garbrah

Members of Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of Ghana (SSRIDA-GH), has drawn the attention of the Trade Ministry to the negative impact the ban on inland rice importation has brought to traders.

“The Ministry of Trade and Industry on October 14, 2013 served a noticed of ban on inland importation of rice stating that ‘with effect from 1st November, 2013”, all imports of rice shall be done through only the Kotoka International Airport, Tema and Takoradi Ports, meaning our only means of transport would have to be either through the air or by sea.

This directive gave us only two weeks ultimatum to fold up our trading business through the border. As petty traders our capital base would not allow us to do our business through the air or by the sea. The directive also came at a time when we had made orders with loans for goods for the Christmas festivity.

A letter wrote to the Ministry, signed by Mr Yaw Korang, Coordinator, SSRIDA-GH and copied to Ghana News Agency in Accra, said on January 4, 2014, government lifted the ban, and statement was issued to that effect, and this encouraged more traders to invest into the business.

“On July 7th 2014, the then minister of Trade…Haruna Iddrisu met with the traders and agreed to lift the ban. He requested for two border post. On July 17th Haruna Iddrisu released a memo directing the Director of TAP at the ministry, Appiah Donyna, to write to customs to open the Sampa Border for the traders, but till now no such thing has being done.

“Due to allegations made against us by our foreign competitors as their marketing strategy to use the Trade ministry to push us out of business, the Ministry took our duty documents to investigate whether we are truly doing genuine businesses,” the letter said.

SSRIDA-GH said the decision by SSRIDA-GH “to put on temporal hold our proposed demonstration on 2nd August, 2014 against the Trade Ministry officials for turning a deaf ear to our cry and implementing a discriminating policy against the poor Ghanaian traders, is as a result of the outcome of a meeting we had with authorities on the 2nd August, 2014 at the Trade Ministry.

The meeting was attended by Greater Accra Police Command Accra.

“We humbly wish to state that our business is only a threat to the monopoly being practiced by foreign rice importers, whose activities are a threat to the nation`s economy because they do the importation under the cover of warehousing and sell their products for high prices in dollar equivalence before paying their revenue and sometimes even run-off without paying.

“We do our business in the CFA-FRANC and pay our duty cash into the consolidated fund at the borders before we are allowed to bring our goods into the country and sell our products.

“We humbly call on your high office as a Minister to review the ban and consider our petition, as it is not affecting only the traders but the general living conditions of the masses and image of government politically, economically and internationally…” the letter said.

source : GNA