Ghana News

Benchmark values saga: Adu Boahen lied; gov’t not engaging us – Importers, exporters

The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG) has described as deceptive, a comment made by the Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Mr Charles Adu Boahen, recently that the government is engaging all the necessary stakeholders with regard to the benchmark value discounts impasse which led to its suspension a few days ago.

While the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is in support of the reversal, the importers and importers are not happy about the reversal.

The AGI argues that the scrapping of the discounts will help promote local manufacturing companies and industries since it will mitigate the influx of cheaper competitor products into the country from outside.

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The importers and exporters, on the other hand, counter-argue that scrapping the discounts would mean they spending more to import cars and general goods into the country, which would, in turn, have a domino effect on the price of goods and services in the country.

A statement issued by IEAG signed by Mr Samson Awingobit, quoted Mr Adu Boahen as having said at the investiture of the new President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) that: ‘I am happy to let you know that there are continued engagements with stakeholders ongoing. Please, do not give up. Let us persevere and I am sure we will find ourselves with some good news before the end of the month [January] with regard to the benchmark values’.

However, the group of importers and exporters said: “We, at the IEAG, deem this statement by the honourable minister, Mr Charles Adu Boahen, as unfortunate, deceptive, prejudicial and a show of gross bias toward our cause in the matter of the benchmark values policy implementation”.

The group said its secretariat “would want to put on record that since the announcement of the indefinite suspension of the implementation of the reversed 50% benchmark values policy by the government, no stakeholder engagement has taken place between IEAG and the government”.

Also, it said, “IEAG can state unequivocally that none of its sister organisations, including the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) and the Ghana Union of Trade Associations (GUTA), has been consulted on the way forward on the issues”.

The group, thus, said it was “shocked” by the “unacceptable” comments of the minister.

Read IEAG’s full statement below:

IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS ASSOCIATION OF GHANA’S REACTION TO A STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF STATE AT THE FINANCE MINISTRY CHARLES ADU BOAHEN.

The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG) has taken notice of a statement purportedly made by the Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Mr Charles Adu Boahen at the investiture of the new president of the Association of Ghana Industries and published by Ghanaweb on the 18th January 2022. (Government to take final decision on benchmark values by end of January – Adu Boahen)

The minister was quoted to have stated, among other things: “I am happy to let you know that there are continued engagements with stakeholders ongoing. Please, do not give up. Let us persevere and I am sure we will find ourselves with some good news before the end of the month [January] with regard to the benchmark values.”

We, at the IEAG, deem this statement by the honourable minister, Mr Charles Adu Boahen, as unfortunate, deceptive, prejudicial and a show of gross bias toward our cause in the matter of the benchmark values policy implementation.

The secretariat of IEAG would want to put on record that since the announcement of the indefinite suspension of the implementation of the reversed 50% benchmark values policy by the government, no stakeholder engagement has taken place between IEAG and the government.

Also, IEAG can state unequivocally that none of its sister organisations, including the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) and the Ghana Union of Trade Associations (GUTA), has been consulted on the way forward on the issues.

It is, therefore, not only SHOCKING but also UNACCEPTABLE for a Minister of State, who is supposed to have known better, to be quoted giving assurances to a key stakeholder in a matter that is yet to be discussed by all parties.

As such, IEAG demands:

1. That the Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Mr Charles Adu Boahen, be made to recuse himself from any stakeholder engagement on this matter going forward.

2. An immediate retraction of the said statement by the minister.

3. That any attempts by the government to take sides on this matter would be fiercely fought against by the business community.

IEAG and its allies remain open to participating in a fair and transparent stakeholder engagement with the government devoid of biases in order to resolve this issue to a logical conclusion.

God bless our homeland Ghana.

Issued and signed

 

Samson Asaki Awingobit

 

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