The Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA), has expressed its dissatisfaction with the implementation of the reversal of 50 percent benchmark value on imports.
The reversal, which was announced by the Ghana Revenue Authority, (GRA) on Sunday, January 2, 2022, and took effect on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, will affect 43 selected items including rice, poultry, sugar, palm oil, toilet paper, mosquito coils, machetes, and vehicles.
The President of GUTA, Joseph Obeng on Eyewitness News, argued that the reversal was ill-timed.
He said GUTA is seeking to actively engage the government on the reversal, given the adverse effects it will have on the Association and other unions.
“The government has assured that they will have stakeholders’ engagement, but that has not happened yet. We are still seeking dialogue with the government. The benchmark value did not come out of emptiness. It came out of a problem, so if you say you are reversing the benchmark policy, are you [the government] reversing us to that problem?” Mr. Obeng asked.
Despite GUTA’s opposition to the reversal, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), has thrown its weight behind the government’s move.
The President-elect of the AGI, Humphrey Darkey, said the reversal is vital in reviving Ghana’s economy.
He thus asked the government to remain resolute in its decision.
“Our position from the very day this policy was introduced has been consistent. We stated and demonstrated by scientific research that the policy was a misalignment to the economic paradigm of the country. Benchmark came and brought about dislocation in the economic model. We think it is welcoming news [that the benchmark value has been reversed], and we urge the government to be bold to complete with its agenda of economic transformation. We ask the government not to budge on its decision.”
The government introduced the benchmark policy in 2019 in accordance with the World Customs Organization’s policy of regular review of valuation databases.
Under this policy, certain commodities are benchmarked to the prevailing world prices as a risk management tool, to reflect the true market dynamics of these commodities.
It also takes into consideration factors such as protection of health, the environment, and security, as well as protection of local industries.