The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana is threatening to have its members increase the price of the goods they bring into the country if the government goes through with the reversal of the 50% benchmark policy on some 32 product categories. Some documents cited by Citi Business News purportedly from the Ghana Revenue Authority reveal that the reversal of the policy which reduced the cost of imports in general is being done to raise revenue.
It will be recalled that as part of efforts to reduce the menace of smuggling and make the country’s ports more competitive and attractive, the government on 4th April 2019, reduced the benchmark value or delivery values of imports, by 50%, except for vehicles which were to be reduced by 30%.
But in recent times, some stakeholders like the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) have called for a review of the 50% benchmark value reduction policy to align with the country’s industrialization drive.
According to the AGI, imported products tend to compete with locally manufactured goods which they say does not support the government’s industrialization agenda. The association called on the government to cushion local amidst the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.
On their part, bodies like the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) have urged the government not to scrap the 50% reduction in benchmark values policy as the reversal will adversely affect their businesses.
Samson Asaki Awingobit is the Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana and he warns ordinary citizens will be the ones to suffer if the government goes through with its plans to reverse the reduction.
“I can tell you that we will do everything possible to get the government to reverse this move. This is not going to be a policy we will accept. We will soon be sharing our next line of action to get the government to reverse the move. If we do all those things and government persists we will let every importer increase their prices and we will make it uncomfortable for the government to the point where they will have no choice but to reverse it.”
GRA on circulating document
Meanwhile, the GRA says the said document with details of a list of products whose benchmark value discounts will be reviewed from Monday, 15th November 2021, has not received policy approval for implementation. According to a statement signed by Mrs. Florence Asante, the Assistant Commissioner for Communication & public affairs at the GRA, such policy approval, when obtained will be communicated during the 2022 Budget Statement presentation scheduled for 17th November 2021.