The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on the clergy, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and other relevant stakeholders to speak up against the proposed import restriction bill.

The proposed LI will compel importers of 22 restricted items, including poultry, rice, sugar, diapers, and offal, to seek licenses from a committee to be set up by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond.

But the NDC has argued such laws often breed corruption and cronyism, and can easily be abused to create a monopoly for some few individuals.

The Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson made the call while addressing the NDC Moment of Truth Series presser, Wednesday.

He noted the NDC is not against any legal regime or policy that seeks to protect indigenous businesses by regulating imports.

However, they are vehemently against a law that confers unfettered discretionary power on a single individual, in this case a Minister of Trade, to issue import licenses and to restrict the quantity of certain imports into the country, without any checks and balances.

“It is the considered view of the NDC, that the proposed import restriction regulations are regressive, counter-productive and have the potential to breed corruption just like the days of “essential commodities” and price control. The law is completely unwarranted and unwelcome.

“We also call on the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), traditional authorities, the clergy and all progressive forces to speak up and join us to reject these obnoxious import restriction regulations, in the supreme interest of Ghana,” he urged.

Already, importers and the business community have expressed their displeasure over the lack of broad consultation and consensus on the regulation.

They have also petitioned Parliament not to pass the bill because it will be detrimental to their businesses.

The NDC has therefore called on government to withdraw these regulations immediately and broaden its engagement with all key stakeholders.

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