The Finance Minister has announced government’s decision to remove the 50% and 30% benchmark values on some 32 selected items.

Ken Ofori-Atta explained that the move is aimed at promoting the local production of goods and improving foreign exchange earnings.

He disclosed this when he presented the 2022 budget statement and economic policy to Parliament on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

The government called on the wealthy and middle class to bear with the revision.

“After two and a half years of operation, the temporary benchmark (discount) policy on imports introduced as a stop-gap measure has been reviewed to make it more efficient and better targeted.

This is consistent with Government policy to promote local industry and improve foreign exchange earnings. We are committed to a programme of turning our enterprising traders into manufacturers of widgets, tools, and other machinery necessary as inputs for our industrial growth,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.

It is yet to be seen how traders will respond to the move.

However, ahead of the reading of the budget, several associations including the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy (GNCoP) warned of price increases should such a decision be taken.

Following a letter from the Ghana Revenue Authority to the Finance Minister, calling for an outright reversal of the policy, GUTA’s President, Dr. Joseph Obeng, warned of a 25% increase in the price of general goods.

Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy, Anthony Ameka, has also warned that the decision will make healthcare delivery in the country expensive.

 “The local manufacturing sector provides 30% of the medical needs in the country with 70% of medicines imported. The removal of the benchmark on pharmaceutical products will lead to an increase in the prices of medicines and other medical supplies.

The impact will result in the high cost of healthcare delivery with its attendant cost implications on the NHIS medicines bill,” part of a statement from the Chamber, issued on November 16, 2021, reads.

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