While the Ghana Union of Traders Association, GUTA is calling for the maintenance of the 50% benchmark values reduction policy, Artisanal Palm Oil Millers and Outgrowers say the policy is deepening their woes amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Artisanal Palm Oil Millers and Outgrowers Association, the policy is rendering locally produced crude palm oil uncompetitive on the market, causing many palm oil producers to lose their jobs in these hard times.
As part of reforms at Ghana’s ports aimed at reducing the incidence of smuggling, enhancing revenue mobilization and making Ghana’s ports competitive, the government in 2019, slashed the benchmark values for all imports by 50 percent, except for duties on vehicles, which went down by 30 percent.
GUTA in a recent press statement said the policy has been a lifesaver amidst the pandemic.
The statement indicated that any attempt to remove the policy will bring untold hardship to Ghanaians.
But the President of the Artisanal Palm Oil Millers and Outgrowers Association, Paul Kwabena Amaning told the media that the 50% benchmark value reduction policy only enriches a few traders at the expense of the ordinary Ghanaian.
“There over 1.8 million people working in the Palm Oil value chain in Ghana, and all these people are going through tough times because of the policy. So we are not happy that GUTA appears to be threatening government not to cancel the policy. This policy only enriches a few who are involved in trades,” Mr. Amaning insisted.
Industry Group Head of Avnash industries Ghana Limited, Vipul Jain, in an engagement with the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta said the Benchmark Value Reduction Policy rather makes local manufacturing uncompetitive.
“Sir, at the end of the day, what is imported becomes cheaper than what we produce here because of the 50% Benchmark Value Reduction Policy,” Mr. Vipul Jain said.