Benchmark value: The facts the ordinary Ghanaian should know

Supremo Mensa Supremo Mensa

Tue, 11 Jan 2022 Source: Supremo Mensa

1. Dr. Bawumia back in 2019 informed Ghanaians about the implementation of a benchmark value discount, a policy which was to see to a 50% scrapping off import duty for some selected goods while vehicles enjoyed a 30%.

2. Even though Ghanaians welcomed it due to the rising hardship, the justification by Dr. Bawumia for the policy implementation categorically exposed his hypocrisy and amateurish tricks.

3. You will recall Dr. Bawumia told Ghanaians, Ghana's port was one of the most expensive in Africa and so we were not competitive in the import industry. He backed this statement with the increase in smuggling of goods into the country through other ports like Togo and the high decrement of revenue recoup to that effect making government being on the losing end. Therefore the government had to find ways of decreasing the import charges.

4. This was where Dr. Bawumia exposed himself and the bad leadership of the NPP since they created the problem of the import charges hikes and were miserably finding lazy ways to solve it.

5. It must be noted that the Benchmark value has been around since time immemorial under harmony system codes. Previously it was only used when the commissioner of customs felt the importer was trying to cheat the government with the import pricing. In such a circumstance, customs referred it to propose a commission value.

6. Currently same cannot be said. The Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government chose a different and insensitive side. The government rather decided to categorise all imported goods into 84 groups and proposed strict and draconian commission values on all categorical groups.

With this, the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government now decides the value of your imported goods and charge accordingly the import charges with their commission value and not in line with the value stipulated in an importer's invoice.

7. This was the real genesis of high import charges after the old way Rawlings, Kufuor, Atta-Mills, and Mahama (their excellencies) adopted. This proves the Benchmark value discount was to solve a problem the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government caused.

8. Sadly the insensitive Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government returned to remove the little solution they provided to the gargantuan problem caused at the ports yet some NPP communicators are acting all Sergio Ramoses just because it's a party's decision thus at all cost conscience must be sacrificed for a bellyful.

9. Unfortunately the inconsistent Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government has come again to defer and not reverse their insensitive decision for some time to do broader consultation. A vivid display of arrogance and showcase of "we know all" attitude since they have made Ghanaians understand they didn't bother to consult stakeholders before settling on a decision; the same case for the electronic levy implementation and its accompanied brouhaha.

10. The president and his vice must understand that under this current hardship and economic malady, there is no justification to annul the genuine calls for the ordinary Ghanaian, most especially the importer to the government to rescind and scrap its current position.

11. Arguments of local industry dying off is infantile since regardless of the situation, local industries do not meet the demands of consumers with their production capacities and at all cost, chunk number ought to be imported.

In some instances like local cement production, raw materials like the clinker are imported and hence current government position will do more harm to such industries. In other cases, plants used in the production line by the local industries will incur the high doubling import cost effect for which the manufacturer may push it to the consumer.

Finally, some products captured are not locally produced making the case of destroying local industries, a case with no logical reasoning.

12. Going forward government ought to be meticulous in its decision and tailor them in line with the grievances of the ordinary Ghanaian. The NPP member ought to also understand that any bad policy that will bring unbearable hardship on Ghanaians befalls us all thus there should be no room mollycoddling the government with their defence!

Columnist: Supremo Mensa