Abolish 35% Increased Customs Duties- Mr. Bernard Ntrakwah

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Story reported by Gideon Kotey

The vehicle and assets dealers union of Ghana and it's affiliates express gratitude to the president of Ghana, H.E.Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo and the government for the withdrawal of the luxury vehicle levy (LVL) which almost collapsed their business.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the aliveafricanews.com, the Chairman of the vehicle and assets dealers union of Ghana, Mr. Bernard Ntrakwah, reiterated to the fact that they also  appreciate H.E.Nana Addo for his leadership and newly introduced procedure during these abnormal times of Covid-19 pandemic.

"To the frontline workers, we say kudos. Members of VADUG nationwide, are by this medium, encouraged to observe all the Covid-19 protocols" he lamented.

According to him, the government of the day has passed and accented to the customs Amendment Bill 2020 (Act 891) and awaiting implementation.

The sole object of the passed Bill is to provide incentive for automotive manufacturers and assemblers registered under the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Programme (GAMDP). Beside the rebate granted on importatation of fully built units (Vehicle) in favour of registered foreign Assemblers/Manufacturers in section 51 of the customs Act 891, other perceived on sided incentives include to; Prohibit the importatation of salvaged vehicles, specific motor vehicles over 10years of age and a right-hand steering motor vehicle without approval by the minister. Increase import duties on specific vehicles.

Mr. Ntrakwah noted that the definition of salvaged motor vehicles as per the current customs Act 891, 2020 section 151 on page 5, does not guarantee the survival of their businesses as a union.

"We want to emphazise that there are categories of salvaged vehicles. And this results in type of salvage titles respectively" he stressed.

The act defines the various terms used in the newly introduced automotive assembling industry (example; CKD, SKD and Enhanced SKD) for clarity. But deliberately fails to define the various terms used in the salvage titled vehicles industry. For instance, under the "umbrella" salvage we have; Non-Repairable/Junk titled vehicles: These category of salvaged vehicles are ones severely damaged and non-operable with no resale value other than its part. They are normally sold to Licensed dismantlers and scrappers.

Repairable, Repossessed, Re-buildable, Recoverable and Exportable vandalism, theft recovery, hail storm and other occurrence leaving the mechanical as good as new. And these vehicles are mainly sold to Licensed Automobile businesses across the globe (with buyers from UAE, Europe, Africa, Asia, Middle East, etc).
The introduced certificate of conformance (in section 61 of customs Act 891,2020) in addition, is ultimately schemed to discourage importation of vehicles in which VADUG and other Home Used Car importers across the country deal in.
According to him, the current passed customs Act 891,2020 section 151 stands with importation and sale of vehicles banned under the BLANKET term salvage, what work will Home Used Vehicle Dealers do? Since we don't import clean titled Vehicles? And what would be the use for; Imported new and home used spare parts together with their stakeholders? The job security of other value/ employees' chain like; sprayers, straighteners, key programmers, auto-electricians, auto air-conditioning technicians, mechanics, etc. In suame magazine, Abossey Okai and Kokompe?
As if that is not enough, the government has further introduced a 35% increment according to the amended chapter 87 section XVII (17) of the first schedule to the customs Act 891, on vehicles and spare parts imported by Car and Spare Parts Dealers across the country who are default not covered by the GAMDP.

This policy is estimated to cost the country Ghc 820,251,785.00 in customs duties and taxes for the first 3years of implementation. And sadly, the government intends to partially offset the above cost/debt with the additional revenue from the 35% increased customs duties.

Meanwhile a member of VADUG and CEO of De Georgia Motors, George Dwumoh, said several meetings have been held spanning between a year and a half with the ministry of trade and industry. That's during policy drafting stage, through parliamentary stage till date with the current meeting been Tuesday, 30th June, 2020. But in all of these meetings, the efforts to get our concerns and inputs considering in order to protect their interest as stakeholders were deliberately ignored.

According to him, VADUG and it's affiliates nationwide, want to place on record that, Eric Boateng of ADUG (a dismissed member of VADUG) and Nana Oppong a staffer at the Jubilee House, do not speak for or represent us. Hence, the views expressed Thursday night, 2nd July,2020 on UTV was solely the stance taken by them and their few members.

In view of this, it is therefore incumbent on us as a people and a country to decide if our salaries/ wages can afford to service loans for brand new assembled cars.

Mr. Dwumoh mentioned that because VADUG does not believe that all Ghanaians have become equal and rich overnight.

VADUG is and has never been an opposition to the introduction of foreign vehicle Assemblers. But all that they seek for  from our listening President, H.E. Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, is to ensure that all industry stakeholders are protected by the policy to enable a healthy competitive and taste varied economical Automobile market.

Story edited by Samuel Amon
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