Mr Speaker, I rise to support the amendment as proposed by the Chairman and my reason being, I am aware of some of the backgrounds to this particular amendment. There were issues with some pharmaceutical companies in Ghana indicating that they had previously
been agents for larger pharmaceutical companies that were producers of particular products. They had developed the market for them; they had been able to expand the acceptance of those products and then they had subsequently gone into agreement with other distributors essentially taking advantage of the network they had done.
Therefore, the rationale as I understand it for this amendment, is to ensure that when you have a Ghanaian business within this country that has spent time and efforts in developing a certain segment of market share for a particular product, then in that case, it should not be the case that once that has been done, then they should be able to take it out from their purview and give it to somebody else to now take over the distribution of that product.
This is because, essentially, it is not just a matter of taking the product and selling it. It is also convincing customers to accept that this is a product they want to work with.
But Mr Speaker, we should not forget that the whole process of distribution of products of any manufacturer from the start of delivery from “X” factory to the final consumer, is a process in which the person who is manufacturing the products, is interested. This is because ultimately, it would affect the acceptability or otherwise of its product.
So, therefore, to say that when it comes to the importation of products, they should not be in a position to determine who imports the product to prevent the kind of distinction that my Hon Colleague was referring to, where sometimes drugs are adulterated and faked and that they are not in the position to monitor the
process of the distribution of the product, will be unfair, and indeed, would be counter productive. This is because you might find that, in retaliation to that not only do we have a situation where other manufacturing companies outside of Ghana, may be Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) begin to take retaliatory measures against our Ghanaian companies that are in the process of beginning to build their manufacturing capacity.
This is because we do have businesses in Ghana that are building their manufacturing capacity working towards World Health Organisation (WHO) pre- qualification, indeed, have their markets for their products within ECOWAS and therefore, would be affected negatively if something like this was to start.
Then you also have a situation where you might find yourself, or some of our businesses might find themselves in a situation where simply to avoid all of this that we have elaborated and debated on and passed, they can set up some part of the manufacturing process here, which then would entitle them to distribute their own products. After all, they are not bringing in finished products.
So, let us not pretend that in passing an amendment that says that we are giving the importation, distribution and retailing to Ghanaians, we are creating a situation where people who have invested in the development of a product and have manufactured a product have no choice but to deal with Ghanaians. I think we should take a more expansive view, therefore, to limit, by the way this amendment does and to say that indeed, it should be exclusively for Ghanaians to retail the products.
What we are saying is that, when it gets to the market, it can only get to the