The Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has refuted suggestions that it lobbies the government for favourable import conditions to the detriment of local industries.
“On the contrary, most of us want to migrate into manufacturing,” GUTA’s President, Joseph Obeng, said on the Citi Breakfast Show.
Mr. Obeng explained further that importers only seek to supplement what is produced in Ghana.
“It is the shortfall of what we do not produce here, that is what we seek [to import] from outside to supplement what is being made here.”
The GUTA President added that “most of the people who are doing manufacturing now migrated from trading.”
“I don’t want us to create the impression that we are just being the nuisance people and bring the goods. We are in a global world and we cannot do away with importation. Even the American and European countries do importations.”
GUTA has spent the last year lamenting the strain high import duties is having on its members.
The Council of State was petitioned by Trade Union members, GUTA and other related parties to save them from the charges.
In response to the concerns of importers, President Nana Akufo-Addo has indicated that there will soon be reforms to reduce the high duties at Ghana’s ports.
“We have realised from the studies we have done that our ports are not competitive, and the import regime in our country is far too high. We are dealing with it, and, very soon, the measures that the government will roll out will become known to all of you,” the President said over the weekend.
Mr. Obeng said he expected a reduction of various levels of import duties.
“I learned they are going to [reduce] everything across the board,” he said on the show.
Importers have to pay duty rates of 20 percent alongside VAT among other levies coming to about 12 percent. The totality of duties paid could even rise to 67 percent he noted.
“If you brought goods worth $100, 000, it means you have to go and find $52,000 to pay for the duty which is extremely high.”
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has mobilised about GHc12 billion from import duties as at November 2018 and was on course to hit the GHc13 billion mark.
This is expected to be a GHc2 billion increase over the GHc11.43 billion of revenue figure the GRA collected in 2017 from importers.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa | citinewsroom.com | Ghana