Don’t reverse 50% benchmark value policy – GUTA

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is appealing to government not to reverse the policy on the 50 per cent reduction on the benchmark value in the 2022 National Budget statement.

The policy was introduced to cushion the importing community from high import duties as well as fees and charges at the ports.

“The policy has helped enormously in saving businesses. It has also prevented smuggling as well as ensured compliance and this enabled the government to exceed its revenue targets over the years,” a statement from the President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, stated.

According to him, businesses are in serious distress and finding it difficult to operate, hence any attempt to reverse the policy will spell doom for businesses in the country, especially the trading community.

Meanwhile, the President of GUTA said his outfit had no objection to increase in taxes by the government on non-essential goods such as alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and other related products that may be harmful to human health.

Meanwhile, the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG) has urged the government to exempt oil palm from the implementation of the 50 per cent reduction benchmark policy.

According to the Association, with members from the entire palm oil value chain actors in Ghana, it was not advocating a complete abolition of the policy as being portrayed.

“Since the introduction of the policy in 2019, the impact is adversely affecting the local palm oil industry,” the statement said.

The local refineries and Manufacturing industries are no longer viable to operate and the concomitant effect is the downstream of the values chain which comprises the growers of oil palm – small and large are losing their livelihoods as they cannot sell their fruits sooner rather than later,” OPDAG Executive Secretary Selorm Quame said in the statement.

He explained that the refineries were unable to sell their products competitively against imported vegetable oil which has become cheaper as a result of the effect of the above policy which in essence has subsidised the imports to the disadvantage of local producers.

“For example, the cost of a 25-litre jerrycan of vegetable oil produced locally is costed at GHC 260 ex-factory price and sold on the market for GHC265 inclusive of the duty, levies, VAT and logistics. But the imported vegetable oil leaves the port at GHC 230 and are sold to traders at GHC 255 for onward selling on the market at GHC 260,” he said.

Mr Quame said prior to the passing of the 50 per cent reduction benchmark policy, the Association together with the Ministry of Food & Agriculture and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority was fighting the practice of undeclared vegetable oil imports.

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