Sammy Gyamfi, the National Communications Officer of the major opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), praised the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) and other trade unions for fighting the reversal of the benchmark policy.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is said to have ordered the reversal of the benchmark policy to be suspended on Saturday, January 8.
According to sources, the president’s directive is to allow for more talks after the GUTA and other dealers rejected the proposal.
“This is VICTORY for the Ghanaian people,” Sammy Gyamfi, who had earlier convened a news conference to oppose the reversal, remarked. Kudos to GUTA, Ghana’s Importers and Exporters Association, and all those who spoke out against the government’s heartless decision to reverse import benchmark value reductions.”
At a press conference earlier this week, Sammy Gyamfi said the government’s decision to reverse the benchmark value through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) was a terrible decision that came at a time when the cedi was depreciating and world commodity prices were rising at an alarming rate, with freight and port handling charges being extremely high.
“The callous decision by government to reverse benchmark value discounts comes at a time when Ghanaian businesses, startups, parents, and households are reeling under a yoke of excessive taxation, persistent increases in fuel prices, and high cost of living never before seen in our country’s annals,” he added.
The reversal was set to affect 143 goods from the Ghana Revenue Authority’s three categories.
For several commodities, the benchmark value, which is the amount taxed on imports, was cut by 50%. The government thought that by increasing the volume of transactions, Ghana’s ports would become more competitive.
After facing resistance from the Association of Ghana Industries and the Ghana Union of Traders Association, the government decided to reverse its decision (GUTA).
“What the decision to reverse benchmark value discounts effectively means is that prices of the affected items such as vehicles and spare parts, machinery, equipment and plants, aluminum finished products (roofing sheets), portland cement, cement paper bags, and clinker, poultry, animal products (meat), fish, rice, sugar, pasta, spaghetti, noodles and macaroni, pharmaceuticals (including drugs such as paracetamol, condoms, etc.)” will all go up by 30%- 50% in the coming days, says Sammy Gyamfi.
“These increases which will eventually be passed on to Ghanaians will further escalate prices of general goods and services in the country and exacerbate the severe hardships Ghanaians are already reeling under. This will ultimately increase the cost of doing business in the country, negatively affect turnover of businesses and the volume of trade in the country, and lead to the
collapse of many businesses and jobs.
“In fact, the bitter reality is that, given the many draconian taxes that have been introduced by the callous Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government since April 2019 and the continuous depreciation of the Ghana Cedi which is already eroding profit margins and the capital of businesses, importers and Ghanaians in general will be worse off as a result of this decision. Insammy Gyamfi
short, import duties will be far higher than they were before April 2019 when the benchmark value discounts were introduced, in view of the continuous free fall of the Cedi and the raft of new crippling tax measures that government has introduced since April 2019.”