Until further notice, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has put the reversal of discounts on benchmark values on hold.
The Authority stated in a statement released on Thursday that the decision was made to allow for more consultation with all relevant parties.
“Following the outcome of a meeting conducted on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, the Customs Division of GRA has been directed to postpone the implementation of the government’s policy directive on the removal or reduction of import values on specified items until further notice,” according to the statement.
President Akuffo-Addo had previously asked the Ghana Revenue Authority’s Customs Division to halt the execution of the reversal of discounts on benchmark values.
The decree was issued in order to allow for extra time for broader stakeholder consultations on the matter, which were set to end on January 17, 2022.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) issued an order on January 2, 2022, stating that from January 4, 2022, its Customs Division will cut the benchmark value on certain categories of commodities by 50%.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association was not pleased with this directive, believing that the reversal of the benchmark values would result in a rise in the price of commodities.
“The cost of living is going to double.” “The benchmark value was the last straw for enterprises,” Dr Joseph Obeng, President of GUTA, told JoyNews in an interview.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) also held a press conference to condemn the policy and call on the government to reverse its decision.
“The NDC believes that now is not the time for new taxes or punitive revenue measures like reversing benchmark value reductions. We agree with GUTA that the GRA should remove the statement announcing this action, which will only serve to suffocate the country’s already overburdened enterprises,” Sammy Gyamfi said.
In the meantime, despite all of the criticism to the program, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) urges the government to proceed with its implementation.
Seth Twum Akwaboah, the Association’s Executive Director, stated that if the policy is followed, it will help local industries.
“If you don’t build your local capacity while allowing imports to come in duty-free, it will wipe out all of your market,” he said. “However, if you boost local capacity now, you can also export to enter other markets,” he added. “If you suspend, you are killing local industry forever and it will never work, so let’s continue the consultation but start the implementation,” he said.