Nana Owusu Afari, Prez of AGI
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is asking government to waive the duty on specific imported raw materials used mainly for manufacturing, to increase production levels and to accelerate the pace of industrialization.
The Association is also seeking a review of laws that make it mandatory for manufacturers to take a five per cent withholding tax from suppliers since this is added to the cost of supplies and thereby rendering local manufacturer uncompetitive.
Nana Owusu-Afari, President of AGI, who made the call, said the current 10 per cent duty on raw materials was rendering manufacturers less competitive both locally and internationally.
He said manufacturers were suffering from unfair competition due to poor administration of tariff regime, adding that the harmonised code system, which allowed five per cent concessionary duty on imported raw materials, was being abused to the detriment of local industries. “Similar abuse has been identified, regarding the special clearing permit, which allows clearing of goods of perishable nature without completing the entire clearing process,” Nana Owusu-Afari said.
He recommended to Government to ensure that importers, who applied to clear goods on permit, were made to pay the full tax plus a five per cent deposit to be refunded after submission of full documentation. While commending government for plans to initiate a comprehensive industrial development and competitiveness legislation for the development of local industries through domestic content, Nana Owusu-Afari said it was surprising to see VAT deferment being abolished.
“This will not be in the interest of industry, especially, at the crucial stage of development of our manufacturing industry. We wish, therefore, to call on your Ministry to abandon any idea of abolishing such a progressive and pro-manufacturing policy,” he said.
Nana Owusu-Afari called on the Ghana Revenue Authority to deal with the challenges affecting tax administration and called on government to ensure a speedy implementation of the National Identification Scheme (NIS) to identify all persons of age to respond to the taxman and also get the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to name streets and houses to help levying and payment of property taxes. There must also be sustained education to get the citizenry to understand and respect the tax laws.