Automobile Dealers Threaten Demonstration Against Customs Amendment Act
The Automobile Dealers Union of Ghana (ADUG) has said it will not change its stance on embarking on a demonstration though the Ministry of Trade and Industry has called on them for further deliberations regarding their concerns about the Customs (Amendment) Act, 2020.
This comes on the back of the implementation of the Customs (Amendment) Act, 2020 as a way of achieving the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Programme launched in August 2019. The Act bans the importation of second hand cars of more than ten years old, as well as salvage cars, locally referred to as ‘accident cars’.
According to ADUG, their businesses will crumble and there will be massive job layoffs in their sector when the Act is fully implemented and operational in October this year.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade and Industry called on dealers last week so they find a common ground and an amicable solution, but the group is certain the meeting will be futile.
General Secretary of the Union, Clifford Ansu indicated that they will go ahead with the planned demonstration if their demands are not met.
“We went through a similar dialogue but nothing changed so how sure are we that the second dialogue will be different and yield result? If they say they are not going to give us comfort to run our car business, then we are also not going to give the assemblers’ peace of mind to run their business. We are not going to accept that in any way. Our position is clear, they should either withdraw it before the two weeks’ time or let us know their plans for us ahead of the demonstration because we are not going to back down our plans to demonstrate.”
Government launched the Ghana Automotive Development Policy (GAMDP) to promote the manufacture of automobiles for both the domestic market and the West African sub-region.
This is part of government’s transformational agenda to identify Vehicle Assembly and Automotive Components Manufacturing as a strategic anchor industry that will promote economic development in the country and provide incentives for auto manufacturers.
Some known car brands have already set up Assembly plants in Ghana and have started manufacturing to meet local demand.
The contents of the Bill
Customs (Amendment) Bill, 2020 contains seven (7) clauses.
Clause 1 amends section 55 of Act 891 by granting a rebate on the import duty on fully built units imported by automotive manufacturers and assemblers registered under the programme.
Clause 2 amends section 58 of Act 891 to prohibit the importation of salvaged motor vehicles and specified motor vehicle over ten years of age into the country.
Clause 3 amends section 61 of Act 891 to provide for the submission of a homologation documentation or certificate of conformance provided by the Standards Authority as an additional requirement that a local dealer in the importation of a motor vehicle permitted under Act 891 is required to furnish the Commissioner-General with.
Clause 4 amends section 151 of Act 891 to provide definitions for “completely knocked down kit’, “enhanced semi-knocked down kit’, “salvaged motor vehicle” and “semi knocked down kit’.
Clause 5 empowers the Minister responsible for Finance to issue an Executive instrument specifying the date on which the import duty imposed on motor vehicles indicated under headings 870.03 to 87.04 of Chapter 87 of Section VXII of me First Schedule to Act 891 is required to come into force. The Minister is further empowered to issue an Executive instrument specifying the date on which a motor vehicle over ten years of age may not be imported into the country.