The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has suspended the implementation of the reversal of discounts on benchmark values until further notice.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Authority said the decision is to enable further engagements with all the relevant stakeholders.

“Following the outcome of a meeting held on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, the Customs Division of GRA has been directed to suspend the implementation of government’s policy directive on the removal or reduction of values of imports on selected items until further notice, to enable more engagements with all the relevant stakeholders,” part of the statement reads.

President Akuffo-Addo had earlier directed the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to pull the breaks on implementing the reversal of discounts on benchmark values.

The directive was to create more room for broader stakeholder consultations on the subject, which was due to have concluded on January 17, 2022.

On January 2, 2022, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) issued a directive that stated that from January 4, 2022, its Customs Division will reduce by 50 per cent, the benchmark value on some specified category of goods.

This directive did not augur well with the Ghana Union of Traders Association as they believed the reversal of the benchmark values will lead to an increase in prices of goods.

“Prices are going to double. The benchmark value was the only last straw businesses were holding on to,” President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, told JoyNews in an interview.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) also called a press conference to decry the policy and demanded that government rescinds its decision.

“The NDC holds the view that, this is not the time for more taxes and draconian revenue measures such as the reversal of benchmark value discounts. We share in the view espoused by GUTA that the GRA withdraws the statement announcing this measure which will only go a long way to stifle the already burdened businesses in the country”, Sammy Gyamfi said.

Meanwhile, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) wants the government to go ahead with implementing the policy.

Executive Director of the Association, Seth Twum Akwaboah, argued that the policy would boost local industries if implemented.

“If you don’t build your local capacity as you are allowing import to come in duty-free, it will wipe out all your market. But if you boost local capacity now, then you can also export to other markets. So if you suspend it means that you are killing local industry forever and it will never work. So let’s continue the consultation but the implementation should start, “he said.

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