Government is likely to make changes to the custom policy introduced in April 2019 which saw a reduction in benchmark values on some goods cleared at the ports.

This has become necessary due to feedback received from stakeholders that the policy has not been effective and has fallen short of purpose. 

Deputy Minister of Finance, Kweku Kwarteng in an interview at a stakeholders engagement on the 2020 budget, disclosed that as discussions are still ongoing regarding the policy, the government will address the concerns in the 2020 budget which is expected in November. 

According to Kweku Kwarteng, the feedback has been taken and as a listening government, it is preparing to address them as well as reviewing some of the reliefs announced in the main 2019 budget.

He said, “In the next year’s budget, we have no plans to introduce new taxes but we will review some of the reliefs given in the previous tax especially the Benchmark value reduction; because we’re getting feedback from domestic manufacturers that this policy is counterproductive and we’re taking a close look at that so that in the next budget we will address all concerns and review some of them.”

He also disclosed that though the government is struggling to meet its revenue targets, there are no plans to introduce any new tax policy in the 2020 budget. This is because it is finding an innovative solution to the Revenue mobilization challenges.

“We’re pushing to meet the target but we’re also happy that the various interventions are leading to an expansion in economic activity across the country,” he added.

Benchmark values were introduced as a risk mechanism by Customs to allow it to independently authenticate the international transactional values of products presented by importers for clearance at the country’s ports.
 The implementation of the reduction in the benchmark values of 50 per cent for general imports and 30 per cent home delivery value (HDV) for vehicles came into effect on April 5, 2019, after persistent calls by the trading public on high import duty rates at the country’s ports.
 While the 30 per cent discount for vehicles took immediate effect with the announcement of the policy, the 50 per cent announced for general imports, on the other hand, has not seen a smooth implementation because of the large volumes of the commodities.