The Bank of Ghana (BoG0 has withdrawn foreign exchange support to customers for certain food items imported into the country, sparking fear of rise in the prices of available goods.
The items affected include rice, vegetable oil, toothpicks, pasta, fruit juice, bottled water, ceramics and ceramic tiles.
The fear is heightened by the fact that many Ghanaians are in the dark, as to what the government’s One-District One-Factory policy under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is all about.
It is unclear, whether local industries can meet consumers’ demand for these goods.
Media reports are that, the withdrawal of the FX support for the importation of these non-essential goods took effect in the past three weeks.
A message from the Central Bank to banks stated that: “in accordance with the president’s directive, issued in his recent address to the nation on the Ghanaian economy on Sunday 30 October 2022, the Bank of Ghana will no longer provide FX support for the imports of rice, poultry, vegetable oils, toothpicks, pasta, fruit juice, bottled water, ceramic tiles and other non-critical goods.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo speaking to the nation on the economy on 30 October, said, “To this end, we will review the standards required for imports into the country, prioritise the imports, as well as review the management of our foreign exchange reserves, in relation to imports of products such as rice, poultry, vegetable oil, toothpicks, pasta, fruit juice, bottled water and ceramic tiles, and others which, with intensified government support and that of the banking sector, can be manufactured and produced in sufficient quantities in Ghana.”
“The government will, in May 2023 – that is, six months from now – review the situation. We must, as a matter of urgent national security, reduce our dependence on imported goods, and enhance our self-reliance, as demanded by our overarching goal of creating a Ghana Beyond Aid.”
The President added that “much as we believe in free trade, we must work to ensure that the majority of goods in our shops and marketplaces are those we produce and grow here in Ghana.
That is why we have to support our farmers and domestic industries, including those created under the One District, One Factory initiative, to help reduce our dependence on imports, and allow us the opportunity to export more and more of our products and guarantee a stable currency that will present a high level of predictability for citizens and the business community.”