Benchmark values: GRA suspends reversal indefinitely

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The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced the indefinite suspension of the implementation of the reversal of the benchmark values.

The Authority in a statement said the decision comes following a consultative meeting held to enable them engage with other relevant stakeholders on the development.

The statement dated Thursday, January 13, 2022 and signed by the Commissioner, Customs Division, COL Kwadwo Damoah (RTD) reads, “Following the outcome of a meeting held on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, the Customs Division of GRA has been directed to suspend the implementation of government’s policy directive on the removal or reduction of values of imports on selected items until further notice, to enable more engagements with all the relevant stakeholders”.

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Prior to the decision however, Monday, January 17 was set for implementation of the government policy directives so GRA could deal with associated challenges that the transition might pose.

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo last week directed the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to suspend its planned implementation of the government’s policy directive on the reversal of the reduction of values of imports on selected items, known as “benchmark values” which took was initially scheduled for January 4, 2022.

He asked for the policy to be delayed to allow for wider consultations.

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Moreover, it is also in order that the complaints of traders opposed to the reversal be “sufficiently considered before a decision on implementation and its timing is finally taken.”

Background

The government introduced the benchmark policy in 2019 in relation to the World Customs Organization’s policy of regular review of valuation databases. Under the policy, certain commodities are benchmarked to prevailing world prices.

Benchmarking is a risk management tool, geared towards reflecting the true market dynamics of commodities.

The policy also took into consideration factors such as protection of health, the environment and security, as well as protection of local industries.

In line with the reversal, a series of engagements has been had with relevant stakeholders with the aim of reaching a consensus on implementation of the policy.

In all, totalling 43 items were expected to be affected by the review.

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