Oil Palm Development Assoc. Glad About Exemption From Gov’t 50% Benchmark Value
The Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG), has expressed gratitude to government’s decision to exclude oil palm from the 50% reduction in the benchmark value of imports announced on Monday 11th May 2020.
According to the Association, this will grant its members equal opportunities and ensure that they remain competitive in the near future, as well as encourage and attract the needed investments for the development of the oil palm sector.
Earlier in April 2020, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta instructed the 50% reduction of the benchmark value or delivery values of imports. Meanwhile, he directed that vehicles be excluded which he directed to be reduced by 30%, as part of efforts to reduce the threat of smuggling and make the country’s ports more competitive and attractive.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has however declared false, reports that it has been instructed by the Ministry of Finance to reverse the 50% benchmark value on imports.
The GRA emphatically states that the benchmark value policy which also goes by, discount policy, continues to be implemented.
In a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of OPDAG, Selorm Quarme, it elucidated that the benchmark value introduced in 2019, gave importers of palm oil and vegetable cooking oils a higher pricing advantage over local producers.
“The price advantage to importers pushed a lot of farmers, processors and refiners and other businesses in the oil palm value chain out of business. We are however excited that a decision has been taken to exempt palm oil and the related cooking oils from this policy, which to us will not only inure to the benefit of all stakeholders especially all those within the value chain but will also make the sector attractive for investment, and for the development of the tree crops sector as envisaged in the Tree Crops Development Authority Act, 2019 Act 1010,” he said.
He also stated that prior to the introduction of the benchmark value, a 25liter (Yellow Gallon) of oil produced locally was selling at One Hundred and Forty-Five Ghana Cedis, (GH¢145) against One Hundred and Fifty Ghana Cedis (GH¢150) for the imported product.
Nevertheless, when the policy was implemented, the imported produce sold at a range between One Hundred and Ten Ghana Cedis and One Hundred and Twenty Ghana Cedis whereas the locally produced vegetable oil still sold at One Hundred and Forty-Five Ghana Cedis.
“This situation adversely affected the local industry as local producers were faced with the concomitant effects of an unfair competition – a situation that was starting to result in job losses and loss of livelihoods of thousands of smallholder farmers in the value chain, not to mention the effect on investment and expansion of the sector,” he said.
However, Mr. Selorm Quarme is hopeful that government’s decision will preserve employment opportunities.
“This move will guarantee the continuous employment and sustained livelihoods of a large number of Ghanaian farmers and value chain actors most of whom are smallholders as we look forward to the next big thing – the operationalization of the Tree Crops Development Authority,” he added