Alhaji Arafat Gyabeng, the Chief Executive Officer of “The Arafat Organization” which deals in freight forwarding has revealed that the removal of the benchmark values is likely to collapse businesses.
He noted that businesses are struggling to bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic and must be given enough time to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Alhaji Gyabeng in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tema, on the removal of the reduction in benchmark value on some items by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) stressed that it would worsen the plight of industries.
He expressed concern that it would also result in an increase in freight, which may affect the cost of shipping within the ports; due to all these challenges, the number of days for detention and demurrage had been reduced which means importers had less time to prepare and clear their goods.
The Arafat Organisation Chief Executive Officer stressed that failure to adhere to the clearing mandate importers are forced to pay about $150.00 a day for overstay.
He added that the removal of the benchmark values would mean that importers have to pay more on duty for most selected items; “This is going to affect businesses and finally create hardship for the final consumer”.
Alhaji Gyabeng said it would also increase smuggling through the ports and under declaration of the imported items.
He suggested that the Government consider a round table discussion between various stakeholders such Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) on specific issues in order to arrive at a much favourable conclusion.
He said this would help unify and improve the working environment within the Ghana Ports.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has also said that the removal of the reduction in benchmark value on some items as announced in the 2022 Budget would worsen the plight of industries.
Mr. Abraham Koomson, GFL Secretary-General, reacting to the demand for the removal of the benchmark value, told the Ghana News Agency that it would lead to an increase in production cost for industries and appealed to the government not to heed the request.
Mr. Koomson revealed that policies to stimulate the growth of local industries and to create jobs was dashed when the GRA preceded with a directive to remove benchmark values on essential commodities imported to augment production in the country.
The local manufacturing sectors that would be adversely affected by the removal were the pharmaceutical industry, shoes, sandals and leather-wear as well as textiles.
He explained that some important raw materials such as clinker for the production of cement which was not available in Ghana and had to be imported by the cement manufacturing companies.
Touching on the peculiar effect of the textile industry, he said, “currently cotton production or farming in the country is non-existent and the industry depended on imported raw cotton and grey baft, chemicals and dyestuff are also imported.”
Mr Koomson said the benchmark value removal from machinery was not the best, explaining that local manufacturing plants were routinely maintained using imported spare parts and other accessories.