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Friday, January 28, 2022

‘We do not import paddy rice; we’re fighting against it’ – RMAG debunks GUTA’s claim

The rice millers association want the 50 percent benchmark reduction policy scrappedThe rice millers association want the 50 percent benchmark reduction policy scrapped

• The Rice Millers Association have debunked claims made by GUTA they are into importation

• The claim by GUTA follows a communique by the Millers Association calling for a reversal of the 50% reduction in benchmark policy at the ports

• The Rice Millers Association rather clarified they are fighting against the importation of paddy rice

The Rice Millers Association of Ghana (RMAG) has debunked assertions made by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) indicating that they were importers of paddy rice.

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This come on the back of the Rice Millers and Artisanal Oil Palm associations calling for a reversal of the 50% reduction in benchmark policy at the ports. According to them, the policy is crippling their businesses and only benefits a select few.

GUTA has in recent weeks been urging for the benchmark policy to be maintained as they believe a move to review the policy will be ‘suicidal’ on the activities of the trading community.

As a result of this, GUTA president Dr. Joseph Obeng recently accused the associations of “cheating under the guise of domestic production” through the importation of paddy rice unto the markets.

But in a response copied to GhanaWeb, Convenor of the Rice Millers association, Yaw Adu Poku, denied the claims stating it rather encourages local farmers and players along the value chain to make money from rice cultivation.

“We need to correct the outright lies before it becomes cancerous, Ghana does not import paddy rice, but rather milled rice which the RMAG is currently fighting against and have engaged the major importers through the auspices of the ministry of food and agriculture for the last couple of years, for a quota to be given to producers and offtake same by the importers of the milled rice till we are in a position to produce enough rice to feed the country”

“With a target date set for 2024 by the Minister of Food and Agriculture and of which we as an association are working diligently towards. We hereby reiterate that Ghana does not import paddy rice, but milled rice We also encourage local farmers and players along the value chain to make money from rice cultivation,” the statement read in part.

Yaw Adu Poku also indicated that based on the positive impact of economic activities, the Rice Millers Association is emboldened to suggest to government to scrap the 50 percent benchmark reduction policy.

“For the growth of the country, we [RMAG] including GUTA should encourage government to put growth friendly policies to create more employment,” the Rice Millers Association said.

50% benchmark reduction policy

The benchmark values are references that the customs use in determining standards on imports meant for clearance at the country’s ports.

In 2019, government in a bid to curb the incidents of smuggling and boost revenue generation at the country’s ports slashed the benchmark values for all imports by 50 percent with the exception of vehicle duties which was later reduced by 30 percent.

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