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Businesses demand cuts in new import levy

Feb. 14, 2017, 2:14 p.m.

Businesses in the import and export trade are demanding a reduction in the new EXIM levy on imports.

They argue that the development will increase the cost of operation and overburden final consumers.

“Absolutely the charge is very high; they could have still maintained the 0.5 percent usually been paid by importers…We’ve seen the goodwill that this government is showing and we are very hopeful,” An Executive of the Technical Committee of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, John Mantey told Citi Business News.

The Exim levy, which became effective on January 3rd, 2017, replaced the initial EDAIF levy on imports.

Under the new levy, importers will pay 0.75 percent of all cost, insurance and freight value at the ports.

Proceeds will subsequently be allocated to the Ghana Exim Bank and the Ghana Export Promotion Agency.

The institutions will be allocated ninety and ten percent respectively.

Customs defends EXIM levy

Despite the concerns by the various industry players, authorities of the Ghana Revenue Authority maintain the policy is in the interest of the state as it will increase the country’s export trade business.

The Assistant Commissioner for Imports and Exports at the Customs Division of the GRA, Seidu Yakubu explains that the move will deepen Ghana’s competitiveness in the export and import trade.

“Once the bank is established it will assist the importers and exporters in a wider perspective; it has been one of the challenges in international trade that we don’t have the money or there’s no trust and nobody wants to do business with you so this is one of the banks that is created by government to support directly those who are into the export and import business.”

Concerning issues of the lack of adequate stakeholder engagements, Mr. Yakubu said,

“When the law came on, an Act of Parliament is public and everybody is supposed once it has been made and has come to pass as a law. Even though we try to always say ignorance of the law is not an excuse but we try to make the effort to make sure that the trading public is made aware.”

Meanwhile, John Mantey tells Citi Business News his outfit will engage the new government on a possible reduction in the charges.

“Already they’ve shown their readiness to reduce some taxes and are still looking into some of the matters that we are talking about…We will take these issues up and we hope that we come to an amicable solution….we want to reduce the cost of doing business for everybody and the government,” he remarked.