The government will reduce benchmark import values at Ghana’s ports by 50% effective Thursday, 4th April, 2019.
The Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia, who made this known at a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, said the import value for cars would also be reduced by 30%.
“To reduce the incidence of smuggling and enhance revenue, the benchmark delivery values of import will be reduced by 50 per cent. However, for vehicles, the reduction will be 30 per cent,” said the Vice President.
This decision follows calls by groups like Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) to review the high taxes and duties on imported items.
President Nana Akufo-Addo had already assured that government would soon deal with the matter.
Mr. Bawumia expressed concern over what he called exorbitant port charges at the meeting, saying, “Many port charges are a percentage of the value of the goods and this makes them exorbitant and highly justifiable. Why should the cost of scanning a container, a vehicle examination fee, a network charge be a percentage of the value of goods in the container?
“We have a very archaic practice when importers are unable to pay their duties; their cars and commodities are confiscated and auctioned off very cheaply – often much less than the duty owed. For importers, the choice is clear that there is an increasing diversion of trade away from Tema Port and the smuggling of many items into Ghana is very tempting.”
The Council of State was petitioned by GUTA and other related parties to save them from the charges.
The Town Hall Meeting, which aimed at briefing Ghanaians on developments in Ghana, forms part of a new initiative spearheaded by the Information Ministry.
The meeting comes at a time the Ghanaian cedi is having some stability problems after the country’s exit from the extended International Monetary Fund (IMF) credit programme.