Importers of agro-input suppliers have called for government through the Ministry of Finance to urgently heed to their request to grant special tax exemption on the importation of their products, so they can enjoy some respite in the process to clear their goods from the port.
Speaking on the Eye on Port program, Kadiri Rashad, the Program Manager of the Ghana wing of CropLife, an organization promoting sustainable agriculture, lamented that many member companies have hundreds of containers of agro-inputs stuck at the port as a result of the excessive taxes imposed on their goods.
He revealed that on 10th of January, this year, the then Minister for Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto had written for this exemption to be granted on these agro-inputs which include fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, livestock equipment, yet, that request has not been granted as of today.
“The sad thing about this is that while these goods are stuck at the ports, they are attracting high demurrages and other costs at the port. If this is not swiftly acted upon, it will be problematic. Some of our companies cannot even bear the potential extra cost and have already gone ahead to clear some of the goods at higher cost,” Mr. Rashad bemoaned.
“Last year one of our companies cleared 15 containers of pesticides and the total tax amount was about 64,000 Ghana cedis. This year without the tax exemption, he is not even importing 15 containers, but 10, yet he is paying close to 442,000 Ghana Cedis,” he cited.
The Program Manager of CropLife Ghana averred that food security will be unavoidably affected, both in terms of cost of scarcity of products.
“When we started off the year 2022, a bottle of pesticide was about 20 Ghana cedis, even with the tax exemptions we enjoyed, at the end of the year, that same product hit close to 60 Ghana Cedis partly due to the currently fluctuations. Now, if our companies are going to clear these same products at very high cost, what is going to happen to the cost of inputs, especially if government does not heed to our plea? Our companies will have no option but to pass on the cost to the ordinary farmer. Not many farmers can afford to buy at such cost,” he explained.
He said that is why the Ministry of Finance should fast track the approval of the special tax exemption requested on behalf of agro-input dealers due to the socio-economic ramifications of not doing so.
Additionally, he pleaded that in the event of approval, refunds due importers who have cleared goods ahead be expedited, so they can also find some relief during the ongoing economic challenges.
Kadiri Rashad also opined that, in fact, moving forward, his outfit expects that agro-inputs are automatically included in the exempted goods list, without the need for such formal requests.