GUTA chides AGI, others for calls for the reversal of 50% reduction of the bench mark value

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has lambasted the Association of Ghana Industries [AGI] and other manufacturing companies for championing calls for the government to cancel the 50% reduction of the benchmark value on imports.

Addressing a news conference in Accra on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, the President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, said  “AGI is not being fair to the traders. Their taxes are zero-rated. They don’t pay anything. Those who pay only pay 2.5% but we are surcharged with 17.5% VAT which is nonrefundable but theirs is refundable”.

It will be recalled that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, had in early April 2019, directed the reduction of the benchmark value or delivery values of imports, by 50%, except for vehicles which were to be reduced by 30%.

He said, “we are stating all these undeniable facts because it has come to the notice that, Association of Ghana Industries[AGI] is seriously lobbying the government to cancel the 50% reduction on benchmark value, which serves as a stabilizer and brought sanity into the import valuation system in the country…..with all these sacrifices we are making, as well as the difficulties we are going through, it will be callous for any group to call for the reversal of the 50% reduction on benchmark value, which has helped in resuscitating businesses in no small measure”.

He, however, commended the government for the introduction of the 50% reduction of the benchmark value which it said has been beneficial to the Association.

He further declared war on foreigners who have taken over their retail businesses and called on the government to enforce the laws using the task force it constituted.

“When their shops were closed, they had the gut to give government ultimatum to open their shops. If this is not stopped It will lead to total chaos and confrontation”.

According to him, foreign retail trade has been a thorny issue in the country which the government needs to address to forestall any confusion. He added that chaos arising from foreign retail business is likely to create insecurity in the country hence the need for government to make the laws work.

The GUTA President also hinted that a high-level delegation from Nigeria is billed to storm Ghana to convince the government to allow their citizens to engage in retail trade.

“We will not sit down for a country to come and impose their sovereignty on us. We are not going to relent on our effort for the government to enforce the laws”. Dr. Obeng fumed.

He also expressed worry over how foreigners and migrants are flooding the country to engage in retail business due to insecurity in their countries and cautioned them to abide by the ECOWAS and AfCFTA protocols.

He, therefore, called for a consultative meeting with the Ghana International Trades Commission to deliberate on the developing issue.


By: Ernestina Afake | | Ghana

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