The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has welcomed the announcement by the government for the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to suspend the implementation of the benchmark value discounts.
President Akufo-Addo on Saturday directed the GRA to stay the rollout of the policy until January 17, 2022, to allow for broader stakeholder engagement.
As part of the government’s efforts towards promoting local production, discounts on benchmark values for some selected items were scrapped in the 2022 budget.
But the implementation of the policy was fraught with many challenges, hence stakeholders including the Ghana Importers and Exporters Association called for it to be postponed to allow for a more effective implementation despite their stiff opposition to the policy.
President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, while lauding the President’s move, said he was hopeful of a fruitful deliberation.
“We thank the President for coming with this directive, we are very grateful. It goes to show how concerned he is for the trading community as well as the consuming public. We are also waiting for this stakeholder engagement with the government, then we will know whatever we have to do with this benchmark value.”
“If you see the euphoria and happiness that greeted this, the number of people who called for it means that people’s livelihood actually depends on the maintenance of this benchmark value policy rather than the reversal, so we thank the government for listening to our pleas,” he added.
For the second time, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), had deferred the implementation of the reversal of reduction of values of imports (known as Benchmark Values) on selected items, to Monday 17, January 2022.
In a circular, the authority explained that the transitional arrangements are to ensure a smooth implementation.
But Dr Joseph Obeng believes the communiqué is no longer valid in the face of the latest directive from the presidency, hence an updated one from the GRA must be issued for the avoidance of doubt.
“We also want the Government to direct the Ghana Revenue Authority to suspend the earlier memo they were circulating because it will then contradict with this directive. That one means nothing to us. That is not what we are seeking. What we are seeking is an outright suspension that will enable stakeholders to engage ourselves and then when we are conclusive of this engagement then it will determine what is to come or otherwise.”