Chamber of Pharmacy calls on government to not remove benchmark value policy

Chamber of Pharmacy calls on government to not remove benchmark value policy

Following the decision of the Ghana Revenue Authority to remove the benchmark value policy, the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy has called on the government to consider reversing its plan to remove benchmark import value on pharmaceutical products.

The group laments that this will lead to an increment in the cost of medicines and medical supplies if the government does not consider its decision.

They also fear it could also impact the high cost of healthcare delivery with its attendant cost implications on the National Health Insurance Scheme which will, in turn, affect patients in General.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Revenue Authority stated its intention to cancel the discount Benchmark value for vehicles and General goods from 15th November 2021.

The Chamber also in response demanded a review of the discount of the benchmark values on some products.

“The affordability, accessibility, and improvement of patients care are the overriding objectives of the current benchmark policy for pharmaceutical products. The state loses on the removal of benchmark and the increase of final retail price it pays for medicines under the NHIA.”

“Therefore, the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy urges the government to reconsider its decision of removing the benchmark on pharmaceutical products”, the group’s statement added.

GRA’s decision did not go down well with the Ghana Union of Traders Association and they have called on their members to reject plans to reverse the benchmark value reduction policy.

This benchmark value or delivery value of imports was reduced by the government in 2019, by 50%, except for vehicles which were to be reduced by 30%. This was to reduce smuggling while increasing its revenues.

According to the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the move made local producers uncompetitive.

Others are also questioning the need for the reduction when it did not seem to reflect in the prices of goods on the market, but GUTA had a justification for the policy.

The rippling effect of this government intention has trickled down to the extent importers and exporters association of Ghana have also threatened to upwardly adjust their services if the government goes ahead with the reversal

GRA has also indicated that the said document with details of a list of products whose benchmark value discounts will be reviewed from Monday, 15th November 2021, has not been approved for implementation.

According to Mrs. Florence Asante, the Assistant Commissioner for Communication and Public Affairs at the GRA, such policy approval, when obtained will be communicated during the 2022 Budget Statement presentation scheduled for 17th November 2021.

By: Stella Annan | Twitter @activetvgh

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