For many years the cost of imports has been a major concern to many businesses, particularly those who bring in raw materials to feed local industries.
The cries of importers are always exacerbated by the frequent depreciation of the Ghana cedi against the major foreign currencies, particularly the United States dollar.
The phenomenon adds to the cost of production of these businesses, who are often forced to pass on the cost to their customers.
In the end, the prices of their products become uncompetitive when compared with those manufactured or produced from elsewhere across the borders of the country.
With regard to the importation of vehicles, the situation is the same. The cost of imported vehicles is expensive.
Fortunately, however, the Council of State has stepped in to help find an amicable solution to the problem.
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For instance, the council has held extensive discussions with the Minister of Trade and Industry on how to address the concerns of the business community and the public on high import duties at the ports.
At an emergency meeting last Monday, the council said it had engaged the minister in frank discussions and made suggestions on how to mitigate the current high tariffs.
A statement issued in Accra said during the discussions, the minister touched on several other issues, including the establishment of automobile and farm equipment manufacturing factories in the country to create employment.
The Daily Graphic finds the various engagements on the subject matter timely and would want to commend the Council of State for the bold initiative to find a solution to the concerns of the business community.
We believe that the engagements were necessary in view of the impact the high cost of imports is having on the operations of local industries and the business community at large.
Particularly at a time when the government is working to fully see the implementation of the One District, One Factory initiative through, there is the need to ensure that imports, particularly raw materials, spare parts, among others, are not too expensive to make the project unattractive.
Much as we agree that a reduction in import duties may affect government’s revenue in the initial stages, we trust that when carefully worked out, it will inure to the benefit of the economy as a whole.
For instance, it has been argued by experts that it is better to front-load taxes than back-load them on businesses. Many countries across the world practise that and their economies are booming because they have fewer competition from imported finished products into their system.
It is our fervent hope that the discussions will end conclusively for the implementation to commence before the mid-year review of the 2019 budget statement.