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Biscuit Importers Cry Over High Taxes   
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Biscuit and toffee importers are complaining about high taxes imposed on the importation of the products by the country’s revenue collection agencies at the ports.

According to them, the trend would push them out of business if nothing is done about it. The angry importers revealed that import duties have been increased by over 150 per cent since the beginning of this month, which is negatively affecting their businesses.

Import duty on a 40-footer container has increased two folds since December 1, 2011. Addressing media practitioners in Accra, spokesperson for the irate traders, Charles Gyam, explained that previously they used to pay between GH¢7000 and GH¢8000 for a 40-footer container but since the beginning of this month, they have had to part with between GH¢2000 and GH¢23,000.

He said as a result of the increase in the import duties, many of them have not been able to clear their goods from the ports. “We have imported more goods as a result of the impending Christmas but as it is now, many of us have our containers at the ports. We have been unable to clear it,” said Mr Gyam.

On behalf of the group, the spokesperson urged government, to as a matter of urgency, intervene in the matter and ensure that the taxes are reduced.

Giving government a one-week ultimatum to address the problems, he said: “As a matter of urgency, if by the end of next week we do not hear anything from government, we would advise our selves.”

Elizabeth Amoako-Atta, Chief Executive of Lady Ventures, told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE that she has been importing biscuits for the past five years “but this is the most outrageous duty they have imposed.”

“When I started importing, we used to pay GH¢600. It then increased to GH¢700 and then GH¢8000, a 150 percent increase is too much,” said Mrs Amoako-Atta, who said she has been having sleepless nights since news broke about the increase in taxes.

Effei Adusei, an importer, said that biscuit importers were not consulted before the determination of the new taxes, adding that “at least a notice regarding an impending increase sould have been communicated to us to enable us plan ahead.

“As at now, we have exhausted our overdrafts and bank loans and we are in a fix as to how to find money to pay for this high duty.” Another importer, Mary Kwapong, hinted that high tariffs would compel traders to evade taxes.

“But we are law abiding citizens and we are willing to pay. Because we know that if people do not pay the right taxes, the state stands to lose the much-needed revenue it requires to undertake development projects.”

Hajia Fati Sule, another importer, stressed that “if government does not reduce the duties, most importers would lose their capital since the stock of goods in the containers cannot cover the new taxes, let alone that of the goods.”

She stated that biscuit importers would have no option than to pass the cost to consumers. Biscuits and toffees are sold on the open market for GH5p. “These are for children and we can not deny them their candies and sweets.”
Source: Daily Guide

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