A deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah Adjei, has highlighted the need for Ghanaian traders to focus on domestic production of goods instead of relying heavily on imports.
This comes after complaints by traders about how the depreciation of the cedi against the dollar, high rates charged at the ports, and increases in fuel prices have negatively influenced their businesses.
The traders were given the opportunity to voice out problems they encountered in plying their trade to the Deputy Minister.
This followed a meeting between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the women’s wings of the various trading associations such as the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations, Trader Advocacy Group Ghana, Cloth Sellers Association and many others on Tuesday.
Nana Tseasewaa, a member of the Cloths Sellers Association, said, “Imagine taking the cedi to get the dollar at a high rate. You also can’t sell your products in dollars. So you’re definitely going to run at a loss. If the government can check the depreciation for us, it will help us.”
“The agents at the harbour are a big problem to us. They charge more than we are to pay as duties on our containers. They sometimes tag our containers and make us pay for extra costs when we haven’t smuggled any goods or done anything wrong,” another lady said.
One lady also lamented the issue of foreigners taking over the Ghanaian market.
“The Chinese are taking over our shops. The shop owners are kicking us out of their shops. At times, we are forced to leave because they increase the price such that we are unable to pay.”
Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah Adjei in a response to these calls, opined that the solution to their problem is hinged on the direction of investments in their respective sectors.
According to her, the situation would be addressed if investments are channelled into made-in Ghana goods to reduce importation of subsidiary ones.
“We all know that the more we import, it will definitely affect our dollar rate because they do not import with the Ghana cedi. They sell the cedi off to buy the dollar, and it keeps increasing the strength of the dollar. The issue with the shipment also has the domestication bit as the solution. If you’re investing in products that are made here, you’re not going to have problems with any shipping line.”