Dr James K. Obeng, the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), said the introduction of the Common External Tariffs (CET) was affecting their business operations and they were likely to go out of business.
Dr Obeng said import and export duties had doubled due to the CET, making importation difficult.
The President of the Union stated that even though their outfit was battling with 19 levies, their major concern was the CET, in that the importation business helps the economy to grow and leads into more productive areas.
He said this in Accra at an engagement with a team from the Ministry of Finance led by Mr Kenneth Ofori-Atta, the Sector Minister on their challenges and the way forward.
The Minister was accompanied by his two Deputies, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng and Abena Osei Asare, and Mr Patrick Nomo, the Chief Director at the Ministry.
Dr Obeng said the levies and taxes on duties amounted to about 52 per cent, which sometimes exceeded their capital, the major reason products were very expensive.
The Union mentioned delays in clearing their goods at the Ports, high interest rate, cedi depreciation, bureaucracy and duplication of roles as the main reasons affecting importers in the country.
He urged government to put in mechanism to stabilise the cedi from further depreciation as against the dollar.
According to him, the recent depreciation of the cedi against the dollar had affected their profits, since imports were made before the depreciation was recorded.
He blamed the situation on multinational companies, which were allowed to repatriate millions of dollars out of the country annually.
Dr Obeng urged the Finance Minister to reduce the duties on imported cables and other essential commodities in the mid-year budget review scheduled for next month.
Mr Ofori-Atta assured that the Finance Ministry would consider the proposals made for the reduction in the import duties by looking at some tax items that could be adjusted.
He said government had put in measures to stabilise the cedi depreciation, assuring the Union that they would consider the concerns raised and find amicable solutions to them.
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