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Business News of Wednesday, 24 November 2021


Reversal of benchmark value: 'You won't run at a loss' - Carlos Ahenkorah to traders

50% benchmark value policy reviewed, Finance minister

32 categories of items will no longer be granted special discounts

Don't misconstrue Ofori-Atta, Carlos Ahenkorah to traders

Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, Carlos Ahenkorah, has assured traders that the reversal of 50% benchmark value policy on 32 categories of items at the port will not have dire consequences on their businesses.

According to him, the removal of the special discount on some goods does not mean there will be an increment in tax on the imported items.

He charged traders to not misconstrue Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta's announcement of the reversal of the 50% benchmark policy during the 2022 budget reading in parliament.

Speaking on the Eye on Port programme, the Tema West MP said, “they should not misconstrue the Minister’s words that there was going to be a review of the benchmark values to mean that we are going to increase. We do not know what the Minister has in mind as we speak. I am not sure the Minister would not do anything to the detriment of the peace we have enjoyed with the traders so they should rest assured."

"No matter the case, I do not think anyone is going to make any changes that would serve as a deterrent or a loss of capital for their businesses,” he highlighted.

But the Minority spokesperson for Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, has shared a contrary view on this growing development.

According to him, the prices of commodities on the market will shoot up due to the removal of the special discount hence, the need for the benchmark policy to be maintained.

It would be recalled that the removal of this special discount on goods at the ports was approved by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, during the 2022 budget statement in parliament on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Some members of the trading community have raised eyebrows at government's decision to scrap this policy.

They said consumers will have the rippling effect of this new decision, therefore, government needs to rethink its decision.

All items under the 32 categories currently enjoying port clearing discounts include sugar, noodles, palm oil, roofing sheets, toilet paper, facial tissue and towel, chocolates, Portland cement, clinker and mosquito coil.

Others are vehicles, ceramic tiles, aluminium products, cartons, textiles, fruit juices, among others.