The trading community of Ghana has warned against an anticipated reversal of the reduction of benchmark values on imported goods, lamenting that such a move would be catastrophic to local businesses.Traders around toll booths should have been given time to relocate – NAPO
As widely reported over the past few days, the Ghana Union of Traders Association, and its sister trading associations, have been drumming home their disenchantment on the said “revision of the benchmark values on imports” as read by the finance minister in the nation’s budget for 2022.
Touching on the subject more extensively on Eye on Port, the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, Dr. Joseph Obeng, and his counterpart from the Automobile Dealers Association of Ghana, Eric Kwaku Boateng, expressed fear that the outcome of the revision may be negative.
Dr. Obeng said, “government should not touch the benchmark value because it is the last straw in the wake of difficulties in business. This is even the flagship program of this government. It is too sensitive to touch.”
Mr. Boateng added that, “we the automobile dealers want the government to know that, if they reverse the 30% benchmark values, it would be very problematic.”
The President of GUTA bemoaned that trading as it is in Ghana is very expensive, thus government should not add any additional layer of taxes, such as reversing the benchmark value reduction on imported goods, expressing that it would increase the cost of doing business.
Dr. Obeng averred that the reduction of the benchmark values on imported goods was borne out of necessity after several years of what he termed as “extorsively-high taxes” in the importation of goods.
He said the gains from the reduction in the market and government revenue is enough evidence that the policy introduced in 2019 has been a prudent one, and any attempt to reverse it would be a counterproductive move.
Dr. Obeng said, “this same benchmark reduction has been able to mitigate the plight of the consuming public because things are hard these days. Even the Ghana Revenue Authority exceeded its target in 2019 and 2020 even at the peak of the pandemic.”
The President of the Automobile Dealers Association of Ghana, Eric Kwaku Boateng corroborated this sentiment saying the 30% reduction has brought much relief to traders and the ordinary consumer.
He also revealed that the reduction led to increased tax compliance from members of his outfit.
Mr. Boateng disclosed that, “hitherto, members from our outfit who may want to import through neighboring ports to evade the high taxes at our ports, are now willing to import here to give the government the needed revenue due to the 30% reduction.”
The traders called for urgent clarification to be provided on what the said revision of the policy would comprise to disabuse existing agitations.