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Finance Ministry agrees to further engagement on benchmark reversal

General News of Thursday, 6 January 2022

Source: 3news.com

Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta

The Finance Ministry has agreed to further engagement on discounted benchmark reversal after a crucial meeting with other stakeholders.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, trade union leaders, Customs and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to conclude on what was termed” satisfactory values for importation”, TV3’s Nancy Vukanea who monitored the event reported on Thursday, January 6.

The reversal affects 143 items under three categories prescribed by the Ghana Revenue Authority.

The benchmark value, which is the amount taxable on imports, was reduced by 50 percent for some goods. The government had hoped that this was going to scale up the volume of transactions to make Ghana’s ports competitive.

The government decided to reverse this decision after it met opposition from the Association of Ghana Industries and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

But it met opposition from trade unions including the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG).

The Executive Secretary of the IEAG, Sampson Asaki Awingobit, served notice to sue the government over the reversal of the 50 percent benchmark on the value on imports if the GRA does not stop the move.

He told 3FM’s Napo Ali Fuseini in an interview on Wednesday, January 5 that the reversal smacks of illegality for which he is calling on the GRA to stop.

“This benchmark value issue has to be dealt with legal way because. This benchmark value issue is illegal on its own. You cannot say you have created a data trade price somewhere that nobody knows how and manner you are getting the price data,” he said.

The IEAG said this decision would be detrimental to the business community if it is not stopped immediately.

According to the IEAG, it would also lead to many businesses losing their cargoes since importers would have to pay more outside their budgets even at this crucial time at the beginning of a new year.

A statement signed by their Executive Secretary Sampson Asaki Awingobit said on Tuesday, January 4 that ” the position taken by the government and by extension the Ghana Revenue Authority GRA on this matter would be detrimental to the business community if it is not reversed immediately.

“It would lead to many businesses losing their cargoes since importers would have to pay more outside their budgets even at this crucial time at the beginning of a new year. In the very likely event that such importers are not able to raise the additional funds to clear their goods on time, issues of uncleared cargo list UCL would pop up and huge losses to demurrage would set in.

“Therefore, the IEAG is calling on the government and for that matter the GRA to withdraw this directive with immediate effect. The IEAG demands that such importers be given at least 14 working days to clear their already cleared cargoes from the port without the new 50% benchmark values.”

Mr. Awingobit further revealed that he would sue the government if it doesn’t alt the reversal.

James Mackreides
'Mac' is a short tempered former helicopter pilot , now a writer based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Loves dogs, the outdoors and staying far away from the ocean.

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