Reversal of 50% benchmark values detrimental to businesses, withdraw directive – IEAG to Gov’t

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The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG) has said the reversal of the 50 benchmark by the Government and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) would be detrimental to the business community if it is not stopped immediately.

According to the IEAG, this would lead to many businesses losing their cargoes since importers would have to pay more outside their budgets even at this crucial time at the beginning of a new year.

The reversal of the 50 percent benchmark on value on imports starts 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 reverse this decision after it met opposition from Association of Ghana Industries and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

But the Importers and Exporters in a statement signed by their Executive Secretary Sampson Asaki Awingobit said on Tuesday January 4 that ” the position taken by government and by extension the Ghana Revenue Authority GRA on this matter would be detrimental to the business community if it is not reversed immediately.

“It would lead to many businesses losing their cargoes since importers would have to pay more outside their budgets even at this crucial time at the beginning of a new year. In the very likely event that such importers are not able to raise the additional funds to clear their goods on time, issues of uncleared cargo lists UCL would pop up and huge loses to demurrage would set in.

“Therefore, the IEAG is calling on the government and for that matter the GRA to withdraw this directive with immediate effect. The IEAG demands that such importers be given at least 14 working days to clear their already cleared cargoes from the port without the new 50% benchmark values.”

Below is the full statement…

PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS ASSOCIATION OF GHANA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 4/01/2022

ALL MEDIA HOUSES

Pursuant to the government’s implementation of the reversed 50% benchmark values at all ports of entry today 4the January 2022 and having observed the process so far, the Secretariat of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana IEAG would want to register its categorical displeasure and utter shock over the process so far.

The IEAG secretariat has made the following surprising observations at the various ports of entry on Tuesday 4th January 2022.

1.That importers and clearing agencies whose Bill of Entry BOE were entered and duly accepted by the ICUMS in the last working days of 2021, have been denied access to clear their cargoes from the ports. Such importers and clearing agents are regrettably being asked to re-enter their various BOEs for new values to be charged on their cargos.

2.That the ICUMS platform has been shut to all importers and clearing agents whose process have already been completed in the last year of 2021 and waiting to clear their cargoes from the ports.

OUR POSITION ON THIS NEW DEVELOPMENT

The IEAG would want to state categorically that the position taken by government and by extension the Ghana Revenue Authority GRA on this matter would be detrimental to the business community if it is not reversed immediately. It would lead to many businesses losing their cargoes since importers would have to pay more outside their budgets even at this crucial time at the beginning of a new year. In the very likely event that such importers are not able to raise the additional funds to clear their goods on time, issues of uncleared cargo lists UCL would pop up and huge loses to demurrage would set in.

Therefore, the IEAG is calling on the government and for that matter the GRA to withdraw this directive with immediate effect. The IEAG demands that such importers be given at least 14 working days to clear their already cleared cargoes from the port without the new 50% benchmark values.

In furtherance, the IEAG would want to state that it would not hesitate to commence moves with its allies in the business community to register its displeasure about this directive should government fails to heed to our demands within 24 hours after this press statement has been issued.

Issued and signed by:
Executive Secretary, IEAG
Samson Asaki Awingobit.
4th January, 2022.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana