header('Content-type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1'); Gov’t yields to pressure; suspends benchmark value reversal indefinitely - News Guide Africa
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Gov’t yields to pressure; suspends benchmark value reversal indefinitely

Adnan Adams Mohammed After intense pressure was mounted on the government by importers, traders and consumers, it has directed the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to suspend the implementation of the reversal of the benchmark value discounts until further notice. A statement issued by GRA, last week, said the indefinite suspension is to enable further engagements with all relevant stakeholders. This is the third time government had to suspend the implementation of the policy to reverse the 50% benchmark value discount introduced in 2019 to cushion importers and its resultant effect on the ordinary Ghanaian consumers of those importers goods. The implementation of the policy was expected to take effect from, Tuesday, January 4, 2022, but was initially postponed to January 6, 2022 and later President Nana Akufo-Addo on January 8, 2022, ordered the suspension of the implementation for further consultations that should have been concluded on January 17, 2022. But, after the first stakeholder meeting, the policy has been suspended indefinitely. “Following the outcome of a meeting held on Wednesday 12th January 2022, the Customs Division of GRA has been directed to suspend the implementation of the 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,” a portion of the statement said. The benchmark value, which is the amount taxable on imports, was reduced by 50 percent for some goods. And the import value for cars was also reduced by 30 percent. The government’s hope was that easing the import regime would make Ghana’s ports competitive by increasing the volume of transactions and increasing revenue generated at the ports. But as the government pushed its industrialisation drive, critics like the Association of Ghana Industries, also called for a review of the benchmark value reduction policy. It argued that imports that compete with locally manufactured products must be exempted from the policy as part of a cushion for local products. The Ghana Union of Traders Associations, GUTA, had earlier called on its members to oppose the reversal. The union argued that importers had to contend with increases in exchange rates, the cost of freight, among others.

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