Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo is worried about the alarming rate of the country’s importation of goods.
He said the country currently importing flowers thrice in a week from South Africa is an absurd situation which is unacceptable.
Speaking at a gathering on behalf of President Akufo-Addo at the opening of the National Festival of Arts and Culture in Koforidua, the former Finance Minister called on Ghanaians to support the Akufo-Addo government to end the trend.
In 2018, Ghana spent $1.35 billion to import rice.
According to him, “When I was the Minister of Finance, Ghana spent ¢300 million on rice and we were complaining.
“The late Major Courage Quashigah was the Minister of Agriculture and he promised to reduce it to zero after 4 years but it was never achieved. Indeed, after four years, our rice import bill went from $300 million to $700 million”.
Mr Osafo Marfo bemoaned such a development saying it is not right and the country cannot continue.”
“….with the type of land we have, even in the forest areas the lowlands can grow rice to feed ourselves. As you go up to the north and fly over to Tamale you will see greenery flatlands that can produce rice for West Africa and we spent $1.35 billion of our scarce foreign exchange resources to import rice”.
“I have not added the importation of chicken and even fruits and flowers, Ghana is now airlifting flowers from South Africa to Kotoka about 3 times a week. Is it right, can we continue this way? Certainly not, because we have all the gifts of riches and we need the leadership that will take us from this dependency that, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is providing and we should have all hands on deck to go on the Ghana Beyond Aid mindset”.
Ghana imports mostly industrial supplies, foodstuffs, capital and consumer goods. Its main imports partners are China, United States, Belgium, United Kingdom and France.
Imports averaged $951.45 million from 2004 until 2019, reaching an all-time high of $1707 million in October of 2013 and a record low of $65.23 million in October of 2004.
Although the country engages in export activities, imports into the country supersede exports.
The senior minister said if the country will experience the development it seeks to achieve, then Ghanaians should help move the economy from an import-dependent one to an export-driven one.
Mr Osafo Marfo urged Ghanaians to help move from an import-dependent one to export-driven so the citizens can feed themselves and not depend on others.
“Let us at least feed ourselves, let’s export enough, earn enough to put our roads right. Everybody is complaining about bad roads network and it is a fact but how do you repair your roads, should we be going out asking for loans to do all our roads or we should be earning revenue from our resources to repair our roads”.
“The second is the alternative, we must out of our own resources earn enough to put our roads right, fix our road network, to create employment for ourselves and even our culture when properly mounted we can earn enough to fix our roads,” he added.