BIA Appeals To President Mahama

The Bureau for Internal Affairs (BIA) has called on the President to personally intervene to bring relief to traders, who have lost their working capital as a result of the ban on inland importation of rice.

According to the BIA, an anti-corruption organisation and a centre for information gathering, the traders view the decision by the Trade Ministry as ‘harsh, discriminatory and insensitive.

They said the two weeks given to them by the Ministry to fold up their business was too short.

A statement issued by Cynthia Essandoh, Coordinator of BIA, and copied to Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Wednesday, quoted the traders as saying that the action of the ministry is likely to implicate government of economic sabotage, promoting foreign monopoly and threatening economic growth.

From October 14 to November 1, 2013, the Ministry of Trade banned the inland importation of rice and then reversed the decision on January 4, this year.

The statement said two days later, the ministry imposed the ban without making it public.

It said the letter to that effect was signed by Dawarnoba Baeka, Acting Chief Director for the Trade Ministry.

The letter said: ‘The ban on the importation through the Ghana/Cote d’ Ivoire Border still remains in force.’

The statement accused the Ministry of rushing the policy and failing to do proper consultation.

The BIA said the directive is pushing local traders out of business to promote the business of a non-nationals.

‘The directive is simply unfair to the traders, if government wants to check revenue through borders is rice the only product that comes through the borders?

The BIA is calling on President Mahama not to ignore the numerous cries of traders, as the ministry’s action will gradually collapse the economy.

The Bureau said most of the women have their rice consignment locked up at the borders, although they pay the appropriate taxes to the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

‘The BIA sees the action by government as unfriendly towards its own people.’

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