Ministry of Trade and Industry To Enforce Ban On Secondhand Goods

Minister of Trade and Industry Haruna Iddrisu has said his ministry is working to enforce L.I 1586, the legal instrument that kicks against the importation of second-hand goods into the country.

“We have a legislative instrument – L.I 1586 — which imposes a ban on the importation of second-hand goods including mattresses, but the challenge has been the lack of enforcement. The ministry will ensure that this instrument is enforced to curb the importation of such materials into the country,” he said.

Mr. Iddrisu said his outfit will also ensure that activities of regulatory bodies at the country’s ports — especially Customs — commands respect for the laws of the country in order to curb the importation of banned goods.

Mr. Iddrisu was reacting to a concern raised by Mr. Salem Nahlous, General Manager of Latex Foam, when he received a delegation comprising top-management members of some top brands in his office.

Mr. Nahlous had cited the importation of second-hand mattresses as a major challenge to the company’s operations, calling on Government to introduce higher tariffs on such imports as a form of deterrent.

“Importation of second-hand mattresses at lower tariffs, and which usually sell at a lower price on the market, is directly affecting us as a company and causes revenue loss to Government.

“Foreign mattresses on the market take out about 25 percent of Latex Foam’s production capacity, and the danger this poses to employment cannot be downplayed. When production capacity is low, we will need a smaller workforce.

“The foreign mattresses do not meet the requirements of the Ghana Standards Authority. Latex’s products meet international standards so we hope Government will do something about it; for instance, introduce a higher tariff on such items,” Mr. Nahlous told the Minister.

Mr. Eric Affaidu, Chief Executive of Corporate Standards Limited, touched on the rationale behind the visit: “Superbrands as a company decided to introduce the ‘architects’ of some of the country’s top businesses to the Minister to enable them voice out some challenges that affect the growth of their various companies.

“Superbrands are top businesses in the country who are helping to advance the various sectors of the economy. We believe it will be best for the sector minister to get familiarised with people behind these top brands.

“This will offer them an opportunity to draw the Minister’s attention to some of their operational challenges, which when addressed will ensure the growth of their brands and the economy as a whole.”

LI 1586 prohibits the importation of certain categories of second-hand goods for commercial purposes or in commercial quantities. These items include second-hand handkerchiefs; men, women and children’s underwear; mattresses and sanitary-ware. The contravention of the L.I. results in the commitment of an offence is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment and the forfeiture of the goods.