President of the Automobile Dealers Association of Ghana, Eric Kwaku Boateng, has revealed that most traders in the import business have pledged to withdraw from the trade if the cost of doing business keeps rising.
According to him, the high taxes charged on imports have seen a lot of traders “say they will not import any other goods if they finish selling their old stock. We are all going to keep our monies in the bank and invest in stocks and treasury bills. These investments will rather bring us profit and we can enjoy that over the losses we are making in the import business.”
He disclosed the government has refused to listen to businessmen and importers over the high taxes and tariffs charged at the ports, subsequently passing the e-levy into law. “The government is refusing to listen to us when we advise them on issues. Former President Kufuor is the only one who stands out when we talk about governance. He was a listening President and made sure taxes were low, focusing on helping businesses thrive but not this government.”
Sampson Asaki Awingobet, Executive Secretary to the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, added that the benchmark value “has put pressure on us and it has not been easy from the trader’s point of view.”
He disclosed the government for the past 6 years has introduced tax components which have become unbearable for the business community.
In an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show, Sampson Asaki Awingobet said, “The gov’t abolished some taxes in 2017 but a year or two later the 1 percent special levy was reintroduced, the financial sector recovery levy was brought back. There has also been the introduction of the COVID-19 levy. GetFund and NHIL have been carved out of VAT to stand alone. On top of mind, these are some of the things which have caused an increase in the cost of duties.”
The businessman explained that charges from terminal operators, shipping line local handling charges and others have increased the cost of doing business in Ghana. To him, these taxes will ultimately force the center of the business community to fold.
“The freight charges are so high that when you go the market,you’re told the prices of goods and services are high. You can go to the market today and by tomorrow the cost of the same item would’ve soared.”