The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has described the implementation of the review of the Benchmark Value policy, from March 2022, as so far successful.

After a stakeholder meeting last month, the government reduced the benchmark values on general goods from 50% to 30% as well as import discounts on vehicles from 30% to 10%.

Speaking on the Joy Super Morning Show, Dr. Martin Yamborigya, Assistant Commissioner Large Taxpayer Office said the reduction in the benchmark values on general goods will aid the authority’s quest to achieve its revenue target of 80 billion.

“So far the benchmark implementation is going well. An agreement was reached with government and stakeholders to reduce benchmark value for goods from 50% to 30% and that of vehicles from 30% to 10%. This was accepted by all parties involved and implementation has since been smooth.”

“The review is better than the cancellation, as the review will increase revenue target in the sense that the value of duties to be paid will be higher. If you were to pay duty on an amount discounted by 30% instead of the previous rate which was at 50%, it is obvious government will get more revenue than completely canceling the benchmark value”, Dr. Yamboringya pointed out.

The school of thought is that a high duty will trigger low importation, but the Assistant Commissioner said “looking at the increase, I believe it is insignificant to affect consumer behaviour.

Though, he agreed that the reduction of the benchmark value will have some impact on projected revenue, he however said “you know government needs to be sensitive to the plight of businesses and citizens as well. Meaning government will have to make some sacrifices”.

On some of the strategies to shore up revenue, he said “we will look at other initiatives on making up for the loss on the projected benchmark value. One of these initiatives is to intensify our examination and classification procedures; an improvement on the above will block all other leakages”.

For instance, he said, instead of auctioning confiscated goods, the GRA will negotiate a payment plan with the defaulters of such goods, adding “so we don’t have to auction the goods at a very cheap price but rather make more revenue by charging discounted penalties in addition to the duties.