Executive Director for Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Sampson Asaki, has expressed optimism over the suspension of the implementation of the reversal of the benchmark policy directive to allow for broader consultations.
According to him, he strongly reckons that government can engender conducive environment for the business community to thrive. Once businesses flourish, Mr Asaki revealed that government can go ahead to tax importers.
“I am very optimistic that the President has heard our plea. You know, the business community are in cliques. So, probably, an importer has also whispered into the ears of the President to say your Excellency, you need to do something with this or else what pertained in 2019, when the economic management team gave this benchmark discount values to the business community will prevail today”.Sampson Asaki
Importers Association call for consultation on benchmark policy
The deferment of the implementation of the reversal of the value policy was to pave way for broader consultation with stakeholders on January 6. Following the consultations with the Importers Association, Mr Asaki noted that the association was not consulted prior to GRA issuing a statement on the reversal of the policy. He indicated that the Authority should have consulted with the key stakeholders.
The Executive Director for the Importers and Exporters Association expressed that from the Christmas period till now, the “purchasing power” of the ordinary Ghanaian hasn’t changed neither has the economic situation of the country. Mr Asaki explained that government cannot reverse such a benchmark policy and build a very “robust policy without also engaging we the stakeholders”.
Following this, he urged government to focus on the customers and the “economic status” of the country as goods are still being imported.
“We stated clearly that when the letter purported to have been written from the GRA Registrar-General to the finance minister, stating that they have engaged all the relevant stakeholders and was time for them to implement it that was palpable false. We never had any engagement and we were calling for an engagement… On the 6th of January when we met with the finance minister and his management team, we made it clear and the finance minister even accepted that was the first time that he himself is seating in a meeting to listen… I am telling you on record that we were not consulted”.Sampson Asaki
Meanwhile, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), has welcomed the announcement by the government for the suspension of the implementation of the benchmarks policy reversal directive to allow for broader consultations.
President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, revealed that the livelihoods of its members predominantly depend on this policy. He expressed that government’s new position will go a long way to protect their sources of income.
“If you see the happiness that greeted this, it means that people’s livelihoods actually depends on the maintenance of this benchmark policy rather than the reversal so we thank government for listening to our pleas”.Dr Joseph Obeng
Dr Obeng expressed optimism on wider consultations expected to take place on the reversal of benchmark values on various products at the ports.