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Traders in Sunyani react to budget   
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Most people interviewed in Sunyani have described as "not a good thing" the decision by the government to restore duties on imported rice, poultry and fish as a means of boosting local production.

In a random sampling conducted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to find out people's, especially traders' views on the budget, Stephen Owiah, a salesman, Jamboyeb Enterprise, who sells imported flour, rice and sugar, expressed unhappiness about government's decision and said this would rather cause an increase in the prices of such products and make their businesses slump.

"I do not feel good about this decision at all. If government intends to boost local production of rice, fish and livestock there are several factors which must come into play."

"For instance, when are they (government) going to equip local farmers with farm machinery to enable them meet high demands in food production and how soon will this be?

"Another question we need to ask ourselves is do all people like local rice? We used to sell local rice in our shop but it wasn't patronized as compared to the imported rice. We stopped because people had complained that the domestic rice was dirty and full of gravels."

Anna of C. K. Y. Enterprise, dealing in poultry feeds, said in spite of the restoration of the levies, Ghanaians would still buy the imported poultry because Ghanaians had a certain mentality that things from outside the country are usually of good quality than those in the country.

Daniel K. Amoah of Obuodum and Brothers Enterprise, added that already business is not doing well and adding levies would make things even more difficult.

Mr. Yaw Boateng, Saloda Enterprise, said promoting, packaging and marketing were major problems confronting most local industries and that if these problems were dealt with local products could receive a major boost.

"It's not right to levy duties in the first place. If they want us to stop importing foreign ones they should start promoting our local rice", he said.

Auntie Rose Kyeremaa, poultry seller, said the price of the foreign poultry feed was very high and called for a reduction in the price of local feeds.

She said more people preferred to buy foreign live birds because the local birds are lighter in weight due to unaffordable feeds.

Auntie Rose said it will not be a bad idea to place duties provided there was a reduction in the price of local and imported poultry feeds.

Karikari Garrison, an accounting student, Sunyani Polytechnic, said he had no problem with the restoration of duties.

He however, said it would be a very good decision to levy duties if local goods are going to be improved.

"We don't even sell local rice here because they contain stones and is dirty. The government should step in quickly and offer some assistance to farmers to enable them meet demands in quality production", he said

Mr. Kwame Twumasi Awuah, immediate past Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive, said with the levying of duties, the poor is going to suffer because prices will go up.

"What we need to ask ourselves is have we been able to improve the quality of rice production which is a common staple in most Ghanaian homes? Government is a major spender of the national economy and the construction sector employs a lot of people. In this regard, government expenditure must be directed to the construction sector so the economy can grow", he said.

He said deficit spending was not a crime and deficit financing would grow the economy and make more people get jobs to do.

Mr. Twumasi Awuah said the smuggling and syndication of cocoa to neighbouring countries needed to be checked.

"Prices of goods keep on increasing and this erodes the purchasing power of Ghanaians aside the very fact that the current government has not been able to fulfil most of the promises it made and they cannot use the budget deficit as an excuse," he said.
Source: GNA

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