On countless occasions, Ghanaians have been advised to tone down on the taste for foreign goods and rather prioritize locally manufactured commodities to boost the economy and the currency as well.
A former Deputy Managing Director of the National Investment Bank, Mr Alfred Thompson reiterated this call by pointing out that Ghanaians insatiable taste for foreign goods means the country is rather boosting the economies of other countries.
He is calling for public support for the decision to reverse the 50 % benchmark policy.
He explained that President Akufo-Addo’s administration is determined to grow local industries hence the move to reverse the policy.
Also, he justified that the removal of the discounts on the affected items would lead to local production of the commodities on a higher scale.
In his view, this is going to result in the growth of the local economy.
The government had revealed the benchmark value, which is the amount taxable on imports, was reduced by 50 per cent for some goods. The government thought this was going to boost the volume of transactions at the ports to make Ghana’s ports competitive.
However, that is not the case according to the government, thus the decision to reverse the policy. The reversal affects 143 items under three categories prescribed by the Ghana Revenue Authority.
But some trade unions do not agree with the government’s decision including the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) and Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG).
The Executive Secretary of the IEAG, Sampson Asaki Awingobit, threatened to sue the government over the reversal of the 50 per cent benchmark value on imports if the GRA does not stop the move.
Mr. Thompson during an interview also added that “We are not saying the fact that we have local industries doesn’t mean we won’t import. We are growing rice here but we are still importing rice.
“You don’t start something and immediately you meet demand locally, you can’t. It is a process and that is why it will take time but you have to start somewhere.
“If you don’t start somewhere, you will not get anywhere and government is keen on making sure that we grow this country locally. People should be empowered to stand on their feet and say, I have been able to start this factory.”
He added “When you buy goods from outside you are creating employment for foreigners and it affects your currency. Our policy is to grow, establish local people.”