Be tough on cheap imports — Dutch Ambassador proposes to gov’t

The Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Hans Docter, has proposed to the government to be tougher on cheap imports in order to save local industries from collapsing in order to derive the needed revenue.

The diplomat also urged the government to privatise some sectors of the economy and reform its customs procedures to reduce the burden on the state.

The Ambassador was speaking to the Daily Graphic ahead of a three-day visit of the Netherland’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms Lilianne Ploumen, who will be leading a 56-member business delegation to Ghana today.

The visit is dubbed ‘Growing together’ and it is expected to mark a new dawn in The Netherlands and Ghana trade relations.

The visiting minister is set to launch various public-private initiatives in the water, sanitation, health and agriculture as well as in the trade sectors.

‘The government must ensure a strict compliance with the deportation of substandard goods and plug the loopholes in the tax administration system’, he said.

During the visit, specific attention will be given to developments in the ports and logistics sector of the country because of the expertise in managing and developing ports, as well as optimising related logistics.

Privatising sectors of the economy
The Ambassador also wants the government to reduce its involvement in certain sectors of the economy and allow the private sector to participate.

‘Government does not have to invest its own money in port expansion. Public Private Partnership (PPP) is a model for Ghana to follow, particularly as the government’s budget is over-stretched,’ the  Ambassador stated.

‘We are both the gateways to our backyard region and so it is important to develop our ports to support trade in our respective regions,’ he said.

‘To reduce the drain on the budget, the government should allow the business and the private sector to manage so that it can focus on infrastructural development’, he said.

He mentioned the ports and the cocoa processing sectors as the areas the government could involve the private sector.

‘These sectors are important to the development of Ghana’s private sector and economy of the entire West African region.’

According to him, The Netherlands, which is home to expertise in managing and developing ports as well as optimising related logistics, is ready to share experiences with Ghanaian stakeholders.

Trade Volumes
Trade volumes between the two countries in 2012 grew to 1.1 billion Euros from Ghana and 900 million Euros from The Netherlands, compared with a 2010 figure of 400 million Euros from each side.

Ghana exported goods worth US$1.2 billion to The Netherlands in 2012 and imported goods worth US$900 million to The Netherlands.

The visiting Trade Minister of The Netherlands will also be seeking to promote the transition from aid to trade in the bilateral relation between the Netherlands and Ghana.

Through her visit, the minister will support Dutch entrepreneurs with an interest in sustainable trade and investment in Ghana.

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