There was no engagement before the implementation of the reversal of the benchmark value-GUTA Prez
President of the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA), Dr. Joseph Obeng, has reiterated that the implementation of the reversal of the 50 percent benchmark value on imports is a terrible idea.
He argued that the government must with immediate effect put on hold the implementation, engage traders before taking any further steps.
He warned the prices of goods and services would shoot up if the implementation is carried through.
The implementation took effect on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
The reversal will affect 43 items under three categories prescribed by the Ghana Revenue Authority.
The government introduced the benchmark policy in 2019 in accordance with the World Customs Organization’s policy of regular review of valuation database.
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.
It was the hope of the government for the reduction to translate to lower prices of goods in the country, as well as reduce smuggling.
However, the government says the reduction failed to achieve that.
But Dr. Obeng disagreed insisting that the prices of goods and services are bound to increase following the reversal of the benchmark value.
“We are appealing to the government to pull the breaks on the implementation of the reversal of the 50 percent benchmark value on imports. Such a decision will increase the prices of goods and services.
There should be a stakeholder engagement for us to discuss the issue. If this is not done, Ghanaian consumers would be the ones to suffer. We are also disappointed with the AGI. They were the ones who proposed this move for the government to reverse the benchmark value on imports.”
He added: “the most difficult and painful part is that we are still experiencing the negative impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. The global effect of the outbreak is still around. Commodity prices are high and increased by over 200%. Trading has been difficult with prices skyrocketing. In all these challenges, the government introduced new taxes, and yet, they have decided to reverse the benchmark value on imports. This is not the time to do that.”