An economist and head of the finance department of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Professor John Gatsi has raised issues with government’s decision to reduce the benchmark values for all imports and the subsequent announcement that the changes takes effect from Thursday April 4, 2019.

According to Prof Gatsi, there was no law that permits government to declare a reduction in port charges without Parliamentary approval.

He has subsequently called for a clarification on the move which was announced by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday at a maiden town hall meeting organised by the Economic Management Team.

“There is no law that grants the Vice President the power to make such announcements, he will have to go to parliament and seek approval and show the House the impact of how that change can have on revenue mobilization for the country,” Prof Gatsi stated in a radio interview with Accra based Starr FM on Thursday.

“All those levies have been approved by parliament and they have been captured in law. And there is nowhere in our laws that gives power to the Vice president to go and reduce duties and thereafter say that the implementation starts the following day,” he added.

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Read also: Import duties go down, Govt reduces benchmark values, Vehicle 30%, others 50%

To him, the announcement that the charges takes effect today (Thursday) may not materialise because of the various stages that must be satisfied before implementation.

Contributing to the discussions on the radio station, the spokesperson of the Vice President Dr. Gideon Boako said the Economic Management Team has already engaged the relevant stakeholders over the reduction in the import charges.

He said the government is seeking to reduce the burden on importers.

“Nobody should assume this government does not know what it is about. There is no way gov’t will announce such reduction without engaging the GRA”, he added

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