Importers and Exporters fight Govt over ban on tilapia

According to them, the decision is bound to make them incur costs, especially when government did not engage them before arriving at such a directive.

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On Wednesday, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development announced that it has, with immediate effect, banned the importation of all tilapia species and ornamental fishes.

This was as a result of the emerging Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV), of which some cases have already been reported in some African countries.

A statement from the Ministry said the ban takes effect from 1 July 2018, as an immediate measure to help prevent and control the Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV).

However, the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana is unhappy with the ban on tilapia importation.

Executive Director of the Association, Samson Asaki Awingobit, described the ban as a “big blow” to its members who have already placed orders.

“It is a big blow, it’s a challenging time for someone who has already placed an order that is on the high seas coming,” he told Accra-based Class FM.

“So if you pay a supplier and the goods get to Ghana, government will say destroy it and there’s no Plan B. Government will receive your product and say: ‘We’ll not allow you to clear it unto the market, we are going to destroy it, but we’re going to compensate.’ How fast will the compensation be done? The businessman and the businesswoman is running on loans, we know the money importers are paying to their bankers, so, if you just issue a fiat like this, then you cause fear and panic in the minds of the business people especially if there is no level of engagement.”

He further stated that although it is good to protect Ghanaians from viruses, it is also right that importers and exporters in the country are also treated same.

"Importers and Exporters Association is a key stakeholder to the Fisheries Ministries and so I’m challenging them, was there any prior discussion? Is there any Plan B? We’ll protect the country but we’ll protect the importers and exporters of this country too. We only saw such a directive in the media, we have not been copied and that is not the best,” Mr. Asaki Awingobit added.


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