The Chairman of the Oil and Gas Sector of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Kwame Jantuah, has welcomed government’s decision to reverse the 50% benchmark value.
His comment comes after several calls on the government to review the 50% benchmark value policy which makes imported products cheaper than locally made ones thereby pushing many producers out of business.
In an interview with Citi News, Mr. Jantuah said the decision will help in creating employment locally, boost the manufacturing sector and make the country competitive in the global market.
“We pushed for reversal of the benchmark value because we realized it was hitting the industry. Yes, we appreciate it and we appreciate what GUTA is saying, but we need to create local employment so that we don’t have to be importing things all the time. We need to create local employment and grow industry.”
“The moment we create local industry, especially with AFCTA now coming in, we need to create the local industry so we can get the quality of local price, so that we can get the packaging right, so that we can get off takers to buy the product.”
“And if we cannot compete effectively in Africa, then our cost of production will never come down and that is the key factor in making sure that our industry can compete globally”.
On April 4 2019, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, directed the reduction of the benchmark value of imports, by 50%, except for vehicles which were to be reduced by 30%.
This was part of efforts to reduce the menace of smuggling and make the country’s ports more competitive and attractive.
However, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) did not welcome the directive because they claimed the reduction of 50% benchmark value makes imported products cheaper than locally made ones thereby pushing many producers out of business.
This was in sharp contrast to that of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) which described the arguments of AGI as untenable and believed the 50% benchmark value will improve productivity in the country.
They have, however, warned of a 25 per cent increase in the price of commodities should the reversal take place.