Gov’t should hold on with reversal of the benchmark value policy – GUTA

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The Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) has called on the government to hold on with the implementation of the reversal of the benchmark value policy.

GUTA said this is due to “the devastating effects of the covid-19 pandemic are still prevalent and even in its fourth wave which is worsening the situation. That world commodity prices are still high and going up, with freight charges being extremely high. That the conditions that resulted to the introduction of the benchmark value policy are still prevalent and even worse. That the prices of essential commodities such as food, pharmaceuticals and others will be extremely unbearable for the consuming public which will also affect turnover and volume of trade in the country, thereby collapse businesses.

“That in the fight against the pandemic, prices of food items, pharmaceutical products etc. need to be affordable to the consuming public. That our local manufacturers cannot meet demand of most of the listed items, therefore, we are not self-sufficient as a country, to surcharge the consuming public.

“That the lack of competitiveness of our local industries is based on other factors rather than the benchmark value policy of which they (industries) are also beneficiaries. That the exchange rate is also going up at this time. That the competitiveness of the Ghanaian trader within the sub regional bloc- cross-border trade should also be conceded as very necessary and important. That the government through the Economic Management Team had promised to engage stakeholders on the issue before any decision is taken but have not met yet.

“That in the press conference of the Honourable Finance Minister, he acknowledged the fact that the reversal of the benchmark value would have an adverse effect on importers and that the government would find a mitigating factor to cushion the effect but this has not yet been done.”

The statement added “In view of the all aforesaid, it is our hope and belief that the government will listen to our plea and hold on with the policy for proper stakeholder engagement to take place.”

The reversal of the 50 percent benchmark on value on imports is expected to start Tuesday January 4.

This will affect 143 items under three categories prescribed by the Ghana Revenue Authority.

The benchmark value, which is the amount taxable on imports, was reduced by 50 percent for some goods. The government had hoped that this was going scale up he volume of transactions of make Ghana’s ports competitive.

The government decided to revers this decision after it ,met opposition from Association of Ghana Industries and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana