The Peoples’ National Convention (PNC) has called on civil society organisations (CSOs), the youth, religious bodies, freedom fighters and anyone who cares about the welfare of the youth to exert pressure on Parliament to pass the Legislative Instrument (L.I) aimed at restricting the importation of certain products.
That, it said, was because it believed that the L.I, if passed, would create the much needed job for the nation’s ever increasing youthful population.
The call came on the back of the controversial Export and Import (Restrictions on Importation of Selected Strategic Product) Regulations, 2023, to be placed before Parliament today.
The L. I. would compel importers of 22 restricted items, including poultry, rice, sugar, diapers and animal intestines (yemuadie), to seek licences from a committee to be set up by the minister.
The Minority in Parliament had already on three occasions resisted the laying of the L.I on the grounds that it was not only dangerous but violated international trade practices.
And also, if successful in its present form, it believed that it could give too much power to the minister which has the propensity to breed corruption.
A statement signed by the party’s General Secretary, Janet Asana Nabla, said that without drastic measures, job opportunities would remain a mirage for the country’s youth whether it was PNC, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) or the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that was in power.
“Countries like India and Nigeria have successfully taken bold decisions to limit imports, enabling them to provide employment for their young population.
We firmly believe that no nation can develop by relying on imported goods for survival,” it stressed.
The party commended the government’s intention to lay such an L.I because no nation could develop by relying on imported goods for survival.
“However, we anticipate opposition from individuals who benefit from these importers or who have personal stakes in importation.
Some politicians and prominent figures may use every available platform, including the media, to speak out against this policy for their own benefit,” it stressed.
It urged the parliamentarians to prioritise the interests of the youth who lined up at polling stations to vote for them and treat the policy as a national issue rather than a divisive matter between the NPP and NDC.
The statement added that the ongoing disagreements between the two major political parties only served to impede progress, while the Ghanaian youth suffered the consequences.
The PNC also urged the government to be transparent about the current level of local production and how the allocated percentage for importers would be utilised to dispel any doubts.
It also called for the creation of a pre-existing market for grain farmers similar to what existed for cocoa producers in order to encourage more young people to engage in farming.
“Government should make it mandatory for both the school feeding programme and the Free Senior Schools (SHS) schools to eat locally produced food which will end up boosting our local production,” the statement added.
As a nation, the PNC said we must be willing to endure some hardship for the greater benefit because unless decisive actions were taken, there would be limited job prospects for the nation’s young generation.
“When Japan initially began manufacturing, its citizens had limited choices but persevered through their mistakes, resulting in significant improvements.
A PNC government in the future will go even further by completely banning the importation of all products that can be produced locally to prioritise job creation for our motivated and aspiring youth,” the statement added.