The Minister of Information and a member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has backed local businesses to thrive following the removal of the benchmark value policy.
Government, in the 2022 Budget Statement, has proposed to restore the benchmark values of imports by suspending the 50 percent discount on selected general goods and the 30 percent discount on vehicles.
According to Mr. Nkrumah, the decision to restore the benchmark values will boost the local economy. “We live in an economy where a good number of the things we consume are imported. In the last three to four years, we have made a lot of investments in supporting local industries. The administration has put before this house a policy that says that we will keep the benchmark that has been discounted; however for some 40 products which we produce here in Ghana, it will not be in our interest to keep discounting,” he said.
He added that the reversed discounts on poultry products, rice, palm oil, toiler paper, chocolate, water, tomato paste, ketchup, and furniture will serve local businesses well.
He further said the policy change is consistent with government policy to promote local industry and improve foreign exchange earnings. “We are committed to a programme of turning our enterprising traders into manufacturers of widgets, tools, and other machinery necessary as inputs for industrial growth.”
If Parliament approves the 2022 budget, all items under the 32 categories currently enjoying port clearing discounts will no longer enjoy that special dispensation.
The items include sugar, noodles, palm oil, roofing sheets, toilet paper, facial tissue and towel, chocolates, Portland cement, clinker, and mosquito coil.
Other items are vehicles, ceramic tiles, aluminum products, cartons, textiles, and fruit juices, among others.
Mr. Nkrumah urged his colleagues to support the budget since the government is making available GHc16bn to support infrastructure. “This budget, unlike many budgets in times past, forecasts a lot of money to support infrastructure. The most important problem, unemployment, will be addressed in this budget.”