A Deputy Finance Minister, John Kumah, has justified the government’s reversal of the benchmark value discounts introduced in 2019.
Mr. Kumah on Eyewitness News argued that the reversal presents diverse benefits for local businesses and the opportunity for the government to revive the economy.
“We believe that this is part of the government’s programme to ensure that we stimulate the economy higher and better than the levels, and so we do not believe it is out of place to introduce these things at this time.”
He made these comments in response to the opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) claims that the reversal was insensitive and callous.
The Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, had said the reversal was an attempt by the government to make up for its mismanagement of the economy.
He was speaking at a press conference held on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.
However, Mr. Kumah dismissed this claim, insisting that it was rather aimed at ensuring that the youth are gainfully employed while local businesses in the country thrive.
“The benchmark value policy which we reversed in the course of last year is being reviewed today because we think Ghana is losing more in terms of uncompetitiveness for the local market. Because of the benchmark value, it is now easier for people to import goods that can be easily be produced in our country from other countries, and that means we are creating other jobs in countries at the expense of our youth. It is a policy issue,” he explained.
The implementation of the reversal of the 50 percent benchmark value on imports was expected to take effect on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
The reversal would have affected 43 items, including rice, poultry, sugar, palm oil under three categories prescribed by the GRA.
But the Ghana Revenue Authority defered its implementation of the reversal to allow importers who received their duty bill before the initial implementation date to pay and clear their goods.