• GUTA has said it is willing to back calls for a reversal of 50% benchmark value reduction policy
• GUTA is however hoping that oil palm producing associations do not extend their demands to all imported edible oil
• The oil palm producers, rice millers association have been calling for the policy to be scrapped
President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, Dr Joseph Obeng, has said it is willing to rally support behind calls made by the oil palm producing associations to scrap the 50% benchmark value reduction policy.
According to GUTA, the support to scrap the policy will be prudent if the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana and the Artisanal Palm Oil Millers and Outgrowers Association of Ghana do not extend their demands to all edible oil that is imported.
In an interaction with Citi Business News, Joseph Obeng said though Ghana at the moment cannot produce enough refined vegetable oil, it is only right for multinational oil refineries in the country to purchase palm kernel and crude palm oil from local producers.
“If they are talking about crude palm oil, we (GUTA) do not import crude palm oil (CPO) and crude palm kernel oil (PKO). It is the multinationals who are importing from their Asian plantations to come and refine here in Ghana after enjoying so many tax rebates. They import the refined oil to come and bottle here to claim they are refining in Ghana,” he said.
“If it is a call to support the removal of the benchmark policy from crude palm oil, we do not have any problem with that, we will actually support that but we will not agree on an arm twisting policy that would affect all edible oil imported into the country,” he added.
The policy was first introduced in 2019 as part of efforts by government to curb the incidents of smuggling and boost revenue generation at the country’s ports.
The policy meant that importers had to pay duties of a 50% Benchmark Value for general goods at the ports and 70 percent of values for vehicles also at the ports.
Despite recent reports of a review in the policy, GUTA has in recent weeks been urging for the benchmark policy to be maintained as they believe a move to review the policy will be ‘suicidal’ on the activities of the trading community.
The move was however kicked against the Association of Ghana Industries, Rice Millers and palm oil producers as they said the policy was rather crippling their businesses and only benefitted a select few of importers.