Freight forwarders urge stakeholder consultation on 50% benchmark value

The chairman of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) has called on the government to involve stakeholders in a broad consultation to decide the way forward on the review of the 50% benchmark value.

The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) has urged the government not to reverse the 50% benchmark value on selected commodities.

 Earlier, in a letter forwarded to the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta, signed by the commissioner-general, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, the GRA indicated that “it has been agreed that discount on some commodities currently being enjoyed should be reversed to achieve revenue effect.

“To this end, 15 November 2021, is, therefore, slated for the effective date for the implementation of the removal of the benchmark values on some selected items,” the statement noted.

However, speaking to Asaase Business ahead of the presentation of the 2022 Budget and Economic Statement, chairman of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Johnny Mantey, indicated that they expect the Finance Minister not to touch the benchmark values to pave way for further discussions.

“We expect that the benchmark values will not be touched, it should remain as it is for further dialogue. I think we need to see the objective of that declaration [GRA’s directive]. Is it for revenue or is it for AGI? We should look at that statement, they mentioned that broad stakeholder engagement has been done, I don’t know which broad stakeholder engagement has been done because we have not been consulted,” he stated.

Revenue target

According to Mantey, the reduction in the benchmark values on selected items that were imported into the country helped the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to achieve its revenue target for the 2019/2020 fiscal year. 

“The data showed that imports were not coming because traders had stopped importing so when the benchmark value was dropped, then import started coming in. In fact, check the 2019/2020 revenue target of the GRA, they mentioned that they had exceeded their target. So, if you reduce [the benchmark value], you have more people coming in but if you increase, people will keep their money so it is rather important that you further reduce the benchmark values,” he noted.

In January this year, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) said that it exceeded its revised revenue target of GHC42,769.50 million for last year by mobilising GHC45,338.69 million.

The GRA was tasked to collect a total tax revenue of GHC47,253.95 million for the last fiscal year. The amount represented 7.6% growth over the tax revenue collections, amounting to GHC43,907.12 million for the 2019 fiscal year.

The 2020 revenue target was, however, revised to GHC42,769.50 million as a result of the global impact of COVID-19.

The commissioner-general of the GRA, Amishaddai Owusu-Amoah, in a press briefing, indicated that as of December 2020, the GRA had exceeded its target by GHC2,569.19 million, representing a positive deviation of 6.0%.

Nicholas Brown

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