The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekow Spio-Garbrah, has defended his ministry’s decision to ban exportation of cashew nuts from the country.
According to him, local cashew processing companies have collapsed due to the exportation of the product to other countries.
He reiterated that the directive sought to boost employment levels in the country.
A directive issued by the Trade Ministry stated that purchase of raw cashew nuts was permitted only during the main harvesting season from January to June, but export of raw cashew nuts would be permitted only after May 31.
The Minister following the directive, has been strongly criticized by both the majority and minority legislators in Parliament.
The Members of Parliament further called on the Minister to withdraw the directive else they would trigger the necessary legislative instruments to reverse it.
But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Friday, Dr. Spio-Garbrah insisted that the decision was in the best interest for Ghana.
According to him the stakeholders in the industry had demanded for the directive in order to keep the local processing plants active.
“So after interaction with the cashew industry over the last six months including attending the cashew alliance conference at the international conference centre, the cashew industry players themselves suggested to the Ministry that one way in addressing this matter is to have a window within the year, during the harvest time when we will request cashew growers to send their cashew mostly to the processing plants and allow the processing plants to at least have a short period in which cashew in Ghana would be given to the processing plants so they have something to process in the year,” he added.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah explained that the Ministry is only proposing a two-month window for the ban after which the cashew growers would have the liberty to export their products.
“This will ensure that the cashew processing plants have something to process during the year so that the thousands of jobs which were lost to the economy last year will be saved this year,” the minister explained.
Will the directive be withdrawn?
On whether the Ministry will heed to the MPs threat and withdraw the directive, Dr. Spio-Garbrah said he is ready to brief Parliament on the matter.