Rice importers want government to check rice smuggling at borders

The government had been urged to, as a matter of urgency, conduct a full scale investigation into alleged rice smuggling at the country’s borders and institute appropriate measures to promote competitive business activities and create a corruption free trading environment in Ghana.

The National Union of Teamsters and General Workers (NUTEG), union of  workers in the food and beverages sub sector, affiliated to the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) who made the call at a press conference in Accra on Thursday.

“Government have to develop a harmonious developmental partnership with all stakeholders to discuss strategies of making Ghana the real gateway to West Africa in fulfilment of the “Better Ghana Agenda”.

Reacting to an alleged statement made recently by Mr. Kwasi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, on an Accra radio station to the effect that NUTEG members only imported and distributed rice in the country so they could fold up and leave if they would not support local rice industry to grow, NUTEG said that was an unfortunate and worrying statement.

Mr. Desmond Sackey, General Secretary, NUTEG said the Minister should know that members do not only import and distribute rice but rather contributed significantly to the revenue of the state by employing not less than 10,000 permanent workers and over 20,000 indirect workers and also contribute significantly to the revenue of the state “and therefore deserves recognition and commendation”.

He said members of the Association including Olam Ghana Limited, Forewin Ghana Limited, Ricemaster and Aquafresh Limited were contributing significantly to the economy by investing huge sums of money in other sectors of the economy such as sugar, cocoa, floor mill facility, biscuit manufacturing, production of fruit juice, scholarship schemes for brilliant but needy students as well as production, buying and selling of locally produced rice from all over the country.

Mr. Sackey therefore called on the Minister to revise his position on “these critical issues of revenue creation for the state and act swiftly to save the jobs of the over 10,000 workers who are likely to be laid off if smuggling activities remain unchecked in the country in order to ensure the realisation of the government’s policy of creating more jobs which is one of the pillars of the Better Ghana Agenda”.

Source: GNA

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