Business News of 2014-06-25

Traders want reduction in import duty

Traders at the Makola market in Accra are asking government to reduce the duty paid on goods imported into the country. The traders, who are members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), said the high dollar rate and the hike in import duty have affected their businesses.
They said if the dollar rate is reduced, import duty paid on imports will fall drastically. The Ghana Union of Traders Association earlier today asked all its members to close their shops in protest against unfair government policies. Paulina Koranteng, a shop owner, told the Ghana News Agency that traders are struggling to pay duty placed on goods.
“Duty on a 40-feet container is close to GH¢ 50, 000. Government should listen to us and reduce the cost. The dollar shouldn’t be used to work out the duty”, she said Mrs Koranteng said the Bank of Ghana’s directive that traders could only travel with 10,000 dollars puts them at a disadvantage against Chinese importers, who are allowed to import without restrictions.
“How can I have 100,000 dollars and be allowed to withdraw only 10,000 dollars. Now nobody takes their money to the banks.” She added Kwaku Tawiah, a trader in catering wares, bemoaned the freedom accorded the Chinese in Ghana. He said the Chinese are allowed to import large quantities of goods to retail them at cheaper prices.
“We had no issues with the Lebanese. The Chinese have come to spoil everything. The constitution says only Ghanaians can be retailers. They should allow Foreigners to become Parliamentarians too,” he added. Mr. Tawiah said the decision not to open shops will have no drastic effect on profit.
“Sales before this protest has been bad, so closing shops changes nothing.” He said. The protest didn’t only affect shoppers. Porters at the Makola market rested lazily on tables. The fact that they might not work today seemed to have sunk in.
“They say they won’t open the shops. We are scared because the police are also here, said Azakara Tofeile, a 17-year old porter.