Mr. Andrew Kwame Pianim, a renowned Economist, says Ghana needs to impose external tariffs on the importation of sugar to protect domestic production.
He said it was the only way to make domestic production of sugar competitive as other countries had their raw materials subsidised.
Mr Pianim said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency following the announcement by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that the Komenda Sugar Factory in the Central Region would be operationalised by April, this year.
He said a tariff of about 30 to 35 per cent on importation of sugar would protect local production.
The Economist also said it was important for local manufacturers to be allowed to import sugar if Komenda was unable to meet local demand.
“There must be a way for the local manufacturer to be given the right to import additional sugar… but it means that the extra money they make on it should be shared with the State Treasury,” he stated.
Mr Pianim also said it was important for the factory to sell the produce through the established importers in Ghana to avert any tension between the local manufacturers and importers in the country.
“We should make sure that we sell it through the established importers in Ghana so the factory is still the wholesaler and then the Ghana Union of Traders Association members will not be trying to import or smuggle sugar into the country to compete with it. Give them the distribution rights so you don’t substitute them out of the business,” Mr. Pianim said.
He commended the President’s decision to operationalise the factory and said, “this decision is the first step as the factory’s capacity is not enough to meet local demand. The next step is to step up production to meet the whole local demand.”
“We should also have an eye on export to ECOWAS and other African countries who import sugar for domestic use and for confectionaries,” he added.
The Komenda Sugar factory was established in 1964 to boost local production of sugar and to reduce importation.
The factory became defunct in the early 1990s due to poor management and technical issues.
It was, however, revamped by former President John Dramani Mahama in 2016 with a loan facility of 35 million dollars from the Indian EXIM Bank.
Despite the rehabilitation in 2016, the facility is yet to commence commercial production, with President Akufo-Addo administration describing the reconstruction as overvalued to the tune of $12 million.