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The Chief Executive Officer of HGL, a multi-grain processing facility, Senyo Hosi, says the government should prioritise the reversal of the benchmark value policy on rice even as it continues to engage stakeholders on the way forward.

Mr. Hosi argued that such a move is necessary so as not to derail all the gains that have been made with regard to rice production in the country so far.

The government earlier this month made the decision to indefinitely suspend the reversal of the benchmark value following disagreements between sections of the business community.

“How do we really want to solve these issues of unemployment? How do we really want to advance the cause of industrialization? How do we say 1D1F and in the same vein be doing everything to make sure we have 0D0F,” he quizzed on the Citi Breakfast Show.

“Government should stop speaking poetry and acting prose. These are real lives here and real businesses here. People are taking risks out there,” he added.

As things stand, Mr. Hosi said a lot of local farmers and businesses were at stake.

“Those people need to be supported. The rice sector needs to be supported. It must be supported now before it is too late.”

As things stand, the government has directed the Ghana Revenue Authority to suspend the implementation of the reversal of the benchmark value discounts indefinitely.

The reversal was supposed to take effect on January 4 but was met with some opposition from importers and traders.

The benchmark value, which is the amount taxable on imports, was reduced by 50 percent for some goods in 2019.

The import value for cars was also reduced by 30 percent.

The initial reversal of the policy was backed by the Association of Ghana Industries, which expects the local manufacturing industries to benefit from the higher cost of imports.

But the Ghana Union of Traders Associations called on its members to oppose the development, arguing that importers have had to contend with increases in exchange rates, the cost of freight, among others.

The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana also expressed fears that businesses in Ghana would be negatively impacted by the reversal.

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