Former Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Robert Ahomka-Lindsay has suggested that the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Law 2013 be reviewed, arguing that it has outlived its usefulness.
The law [Act 271] bars foreigners from engaging in some trade or enterprises reserved for Ghanaians.
The Ghana Statistical Service in its inaugural Trade Vulnerability Report said Ghana faced a notable trade imbalance in 2022.
The report reveals that the country’s imports exceeded its exports by GH₵4.5 billion, underscoring a significant economic challenge.
Speaking on The Point of View on Citi TV, Mr Ahomka-Lindsay said, “To be honest with you, the GIPC 2013 law has outlived its usefulness and needs to be reviewed.”
The former deputy trade minister emphasized the need for the government to partner with investors to process Ghanaian products to enable Ghana compete on the international market, rather than allowing foreigners to trade in products meant for locals.
He cited the Chinese and Americans as examples of countries that know their trade needs and are working to beat competition, while Ghana seems to be shut out of the trade market.
Mr Ahomka-Lindsay, therefore, charged the government to spell out its trade needs so that its laws and regulations can reflect them.
“Part of the challenge we have is that, we have not defined very clearly what we want, and reflected our laws and regulations to them. The Chinese, Americans, and Asians know what they want, and when they don’t get it, they close the border. If we as Ghanaians say that we want bread producers because we can’t do it, I don’t believe we lack the capacity to manufacture all the inputs to consume bread in Ghana. We have lots of cocoa beans which we don’t know how to process, so let’s get FDI to come and set up a processing factory in Ghana.”
“You want Foreign Direct Investors to come and refine your products for you, you want FDI to add value to what you already have because you want to increase the total value of your exports in cocoa. FDI should be designed in what you desire in our economy”.
He bemoaned that Ghanaian some businesses are struggling to compete because they have not added value to their products.
“80 percent of our businesses have no value-added, how do you compete?” he asked.
Asked if Ghana’s economy is over-liberalised, he said, “The challenge we have is that we have wrong priorities.”