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Business News of Thursday, 25 November 2021


GUTA warns of 'intense protest' if benchmark value policy is reversed

Ghana Union of Traders Associations(GUTA) Ghana Union of Traders Associations(GUTA)

The traders say any reversal will be problematic for local businesses

Finance Minister mentioned the reversal of the benchmark value policy in the 2022 budget

GUTA wants the AGI to stay away from the benchmark policy

The Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has hinted at intense protests if the government goes ahead with plans to reverse the benchmark value reduction policy.

The Finance Minister in his budget presentation last week proposed the reversal of the benchmark reduction policy.

Various stakeholders including the Association of Ghana Industries have commended the move while others have disagreed with it.

In a press release cited by GhanaWeb, GUTA noted that there may be unrest in the country if the reversal of the policy takes effect.

According to GUTA, its member associations numbering about 68, in conjunction with other relevant stakeholder groups in the private sector, including the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association (PIWA), Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders among others, have met and unanimously resolved to vehemently kick against the reversal of the 50% and 30% benchmark value reduction policy presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister.

In its statement, GUTA noted that the policy of reducing the benchmark values was introduced in 2019 to save businesses in the country from total collapse, as a result of high import duties, other numerous taxes, high fees and charges on imports ranging between 55% to 65%, draining their capital.

The association highlighted that the conditions that necessitated the introduction of the policy are not only still prevalent but even now exacerbated by the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has caused global commodity prices to escalate to about 100%, whiles freight charges also catapulted to over 600% making the survival of businesses very difficult.

They believe that reversing this policy will therefore not only be inimical to the growth of businesses but will also spark intense protests that may result in unrest in the country, as the atmosphere is already tense due to the pronouncement by the Finance Minister.

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) have also been accused of been in favour of the reversal over their “diabolical, insensitive and irrational lobbying of the government to reverse the policy against their local competitors in the business arena”.

According to GUTA, AGI should stop driving a wedge between local manufacturers and other key players in the private sector because their attitude has the potential of causing disunity among members of the private sector which will not help the developmental agenda of the government.

GUTA added that it shall not accept the reversal of the benchmark value reductions policy, and urged the government to listen to their calls and avert any rift and unrest in the country.