Benchmark Value Reversal: Timing is wrong ─ GUTA
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has expressed concerns over the timing for the implementation of reversal of the benchmark value policy and asked Government to engage the stakeholders.
The Association projects that the immediate implementation of reversal will lead to unbearable economic hardship for Ghanaians, especially during the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The prices of essential commodities such as food, pharmaceuticals and others will be extremely unbearable for the consuming public, which will also affect turnover and volume of trade in the country, thereby collapse businesses,” said Dr Joseph Obeng, GUTA President, in a statement.
He said prevailing conditions in the world market showed that commodity prices, freight charges and exchanging rates were high and did not favour such a policy decision, which was to be implemented in January this year.
Therefore, he called on the Government to fulfil its promise of prior engagement of shareholders before such major decisions and outline mitigating measures to be implemented to help Ghanaian consumers.
He said the local industries had remained non-competitive and lacked the capacity to meet the demand of import substitutes and as such, were beneficiaries of the benchmark value policy.
“…That our local manufacturers cannot meet the demand of most of the listed items, therefore, we are not self-sufficient as a country, to surcharge the consuming public,” he added.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori Atta, during the budget statement and economic policy presentation to Parliament last year, announced a review of benchmark value on some items at the port to enable the Government to shore up revenue on imported goods into the country.
While some industry players like the Association of Ghana Industries are in support of the policy, with the hope of promoting locally manufactured goods, GUTA is worried consumers may not be able to afford such goods.