Traders Advocacy Group Ghana (TAGG) said the action by government regards the removal of the Benchmark values and adding on cost of doing business at Ghana Ports will not be a problem that should warrant a strike action or a demonstration to interrupt business activities of their members.
According to the leadership of the Group, big businesses like Shoprite, Melcom, Game, Palace, Orca Deco, China Mall, Koala and others do not go on strike or demonstration in matters like this because they will always pass on the excess cost to the final consumer.
In view of that TAGG has urged its members and traders not to entertain any activity that will affect free flow of their business operations especially towards the festive season and advised all traders to add on in order to stay in business.
This call was made by the President of TAGG, Kwadwo Amoateng in an interview during a press conference the Group had on the 2020 Budget.
According to him, TAGG has no problem with government initiatives on aiming to direct their Enterprising Traders into the local manufacturers.
He however indicated that the reversal of the 50% and 30% Benchmark values which the Finance Minister, in presenting the 2022 Budget statement on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, 24th November, 2021 on some 32 selected items and vehicles respectively with the aim of promoting the manufacturing sector and the patronage of locally produced goods in Ghana is not a good decision.
“Should we ask ourselves that per the advice from AGI to government enough to inform the decision of reversing the Benchmark values? With regards to our questions, the production data from these Ghanaian industries are crucial to the trader to make some basic analysis on availability of stocks, which informs the decisions in comparing prices, quality standards and availability of the volumes needed for our operations now that 100% benchmark values are restored,” he said.
He reminded government that, traders will always be traders and are ever ready to pass on any additional charge/cost to the final consumer 100%.
He averred that government must clearly indicate the 32 selected items of which Ghanaian companies are producing, and the production capacity being produced by these companies as claimed by government.
TAGG has also urged government to take a second look at the composite of the E-levy and possibly reduce the rate to an acceptable level where every Ghanaian will accept and embrace.
According to the Group, the E-levy is a smart way of widening the tax net and also in increasing the tax contribution to GDP growth 2022, hence that cannot be done away with.
Addressing the Press Conference in Accra, General Secretary of TAGG, Nana Poku, indicated that government is to reduce the E-levy rate and stagger rates in standard tiers since traders have come to accept the digital payment platforms especially the MoMo platforms for payment of wages, paying suppliers and their vendors.
The Finance Minister indicated in the budget the introduction of the 1.75 percent Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy) scheduled to take off in January 2022.
TAGG averred that the convenience that the MoMo platform brings has even reduced highway robbery amongst their members and traders, and hence the Group entreats government to go “back to the drawing board and think about the rate again and heed to the advice and call from Ghanaians especially traders.”
TAGG also suggested that government liaise with Traders Advocacy Group Ghana (TAGG) for data on Traders who can do huge volumes on the local sourcing of the 1D1F products and find a way to support these traders within that category.
“Once we assist government in identifying these high-volumes of traders, an arrangement could be put together with the manufacturers to supply the traders within the scope of the agreement. This is because we have the full database of all these traders who have the capacity to do so with a click of a button…. we are calling on government to heed to our call to maintain peace and tranquility in the country,” he said.
By PROSPER AGBENYEGA
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