Government’s policy directive on the reversal of the reduction of values of imports on 43 selected items takes effect today, Tuesday, January 4, 2022, amidst great opposition from some trade unions.

According to a statement from the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) will ensure this directive takes effect.

Otherwise known as the ‘benchmark values’, the reversal will affect the selected items from all the three categories on which the reversal was applied, a statement from the Authority said.

The items to be affected include the home delivery value of vehicles, goods on which benchmark values are applied, and all other goods.

This means the Home Delivery Value of vehicles will no longer be discounted by 30%.

Also, the full value shall apply without any reduction for all other goods, where the importer has an invoice for which the value is higher or lower than the established Transaction Price Database.

Although the Ghana Revenue Authority has explained that this is to ensure importers or agents pay 100% duty on selected items and have also assured that a “series of engagements have been had with relevant stakeholders to reach a consensus on the implementation of the policy,” the decision has been greeted with opposition from some trade unions including the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

GUTA has warned that any attempt to introduce this policy in the 2022 Budget will disrupt Ghana’s distribution sector. President of the Union, Dr Joseph Obeng, insists that prices of goods will increase significantly if government reverses the reduction of values of selected items if the government proceeds with the implementation.

In an earlier press statement, he added that scrapping the policy will be suicidal, saying the policy brought relief to the trading community, sanity into the system, and eased tension and agitations amid the impact of the coronavirus on cross-border trade.

“We should be very surprised if the government succumbs to this treacherous and diabolic request of the AGI who are trying to lobby against this most acceptable flagship policy of the government to destroy the distribution sector of the economy,” he added.

Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana Samson Aasaki Awingobit has also stated that the reversal will bring untold hardship on its members.

He noted that even with the status quo, some of his members could not clear their goods due to financial difficulties; hence, the new directive will be an add-up to the challenges his members face while clearing their goods.

Following these concerns, The Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has asked the government to hold on with implementing the reversal of the benchmark value policy.

They further contend that the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still prevalent and even in its fourth wave, which is worsening the situation.

They added that the prices of essential commodities such as food, pharmaceuticals and others (which are supposed to be moderate in the wake of the pandemic) will be extremely unbearable for the consuming public which will also affect turnover and volume of trade in the country, thereby collapsing businesses.

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