NDC’s views on reversal of benchmark discount are ‘regrettable and pedestrian’ – John Kumah

ndcs views on reversal of benchmark discount are regrettable and pedestrian john kumah
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Deputy Finance Minister, John Kumah has defended government’s reversal of the benchmark value discount; describing the stance of the opposition NDC as ‘regrettable and pedestrian’.  

In a statement circulated on Social media on Thursday, Mr. John Kumah indicated that contrary to the opinion of the NDC, the reversal of the benchmark value discount does not undermine the progress of the economy. According to him, the reversal will rather create an enabling environment for the growth of local businesses in the country.

“The views, as expressed by the NDC, are regrettable and pedestrian. Perhaps, if the NDC had done a little research, it would have unearthed the countless benefits that government and local businesses would accrue for reversing this policy.

Moreover, the thrust of the NDC’s presser appears shallow, ill-informed, and inconsistent with its 2020 Manifesto ‘Edwuma Pa Plan’, in which they promised to prioritise local production for rapid industralisation, job creation and entrepreneurship”, John Kumah said.

John Kumah, who’s also the Member of Parliament for the Ejisu Constituency, refuted the NDC’s claims that government has collapsed local businesses through poorly thought- through policies. According to him, since the NPP assumed power in 2017, the party has shown sterling commitment to the growth and development of local enterprises, thus there is the need for citizens to rally behind the government, instead of subscribing to the ‘propagandist orientation’ of the NDC.

“It is undeniable that the Nana Akufo-Addo government in the past 5 years has worked tirelessly to anchor economic growth and progress on local production. A comprehensive wide-ranging Industrial Transformation Programme geared towards making Ghana the new manufacturing hub in West Africa, has been implemented.

Through these interventions, various support schemes have been extended to the business community to stimulate their creativity and allow them to expand and grow. As a result, many moribund businesses have been resuscitated, including the famous Darko Farms”, Mr. Kumah stated.

On Wednesday, January 5, the National Democratic Congress held a press conference at the party’s headquarters where it decried the reversal of the benchmark value discount by government. Addressing the press, the National Communication Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi stressed that, the move by government is a ‘draconian’ and ‘insensitive’ policy which will impose untold hardship on the already suffering Ghanaians.

In his submissions, Sammy Gyamfi added that the decision by government will only deepen the woes of indigenous business owners. He thus called on the Ghana Revenue Authority to pull the breaks on the reversal of the benchmark value discounts.

“In conclusion, we wish to make the point, that Ghanaians have had enough of the deception and callousness of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government. The NDC holds the view, that this is not the time for more taxes and draconian revenue measures such as the reversal of benchmark value discounts. We share in the view expoused by GUTA that the GRA withdraws the statement announcing this measure which will only go a long way to stifle the already burdened businesses in the country” Sammy Gyamfi said.

But responding to this on Thursday, Mr. John Kumah maintained that the reversal is a well-intentioned policy by government, which aims at bettering the lot of businesses in the country.

“Many of them [local businesses] have expanded quickly through government support and are competing with other companies elsewhere in the export market. The reversal of the benchmark values policy will be a good enabler for their growth and the consumption of local products. In addition, the ‘Buy Made in Ghana’ campaign will help increase local products’ consumption’, Mr. Kumah explained.

In 2019, the government introduced a rebate policy on benchmark value for selected imported goods by 50%; while imported vehicles were discounted by 30%. The aim of this policy, according to government, was to drive competiveness at Ghana’s ports in the sub-region.

However, on 4th January, 2022, government reversed the policy. The reversal has so far stirred a lot of sentiments amongst traders and business owners, with some describing the reversal as unfavourable.

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