Importers Threaten To Increase Prices

Importers have warned that they will increase the prices of goods in the coming months should government fail to halt the proposed 0.02 percent deductions on all imports outside the African Union (AU).

President Nana Akufo Addo indicated that cabinet has approved the deduction awaiting parliamentary approval and implementation.

In a speech read on his behalf at an orientation workshop for envoys appointed under the NPP administration, the President explained that the deductions should be used “to support the activities of AU, so that AU will not go begging other countries for its citizens.”

But the importers say the move would rather increase their cost of operation and want it scrapped.

The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit, said his members will push until government addresses their concerns.

“If government approves it and Parliament goes ahead to implement it which I am sure they will give due diligence, the new law will most definitely result in increased prices,” he stated.

Even though he admitted that the move is a plausible one, he explained that the implementation would overburden the Ghanaian importer, who is currently grappling with high costs of clearance at the ports.

“It is a good intent to support the African Union and its operations but we think that government could also look elsewhere rather than revert to the importers for such revenue.”

Already, the Finance Ministry is engaging local businesses on the reduced 17.5 percent VAT Flat rate.

The negotiations have become necessary following concerns by the businesses over the category of people to be affected.

This has also resulted in a deferment of the implementation date to July.

Sampson Asaaki, however, wants the government to focus attention on levying other sectors such as the oil & gas and telecom industries to relieve the importers.

He argued that such expatriate businesses mostly repatriate profits to their parent companies and further invest in those countries as well.

“Whilst we are raising these concerns, we would like to ask why can’t government also get this from the turnover of these oil companies, foreign owned banks and the communication companies, which are all making huge turnovers? ” he queried.