The government has taken steps to ban the importation of accident vehicles and vehicles that are more than 10 years old into Ghana.
The government is seeking to do this through the Customs Amendment Bill 2020 which is currently before Parliament and has gone through second reading. The consideration stage and third reading which is the final stage for the Bill to be passed into law may all be taken in one day due to its urgent nature.
According to the Joint Committee of Finance and Trade, Industry and Tourism, upon the passage of the Bill into law, “specific motor vehicles over 10 years of age shall be eventually prohibited from being imported into the country. Also, the importation of salvaged vehicles shall be banned regardless of the age, type or description of such vehicles.”
Experts say allowing overage vehicles into the country is like a double-edged sword on the throat of Ghanaians because the impact of climate change resulting from carbon emissions from these vehicles completely outweighs the benefits.
Human health is badly affected by the used car emitted particles, like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and other car pollutants which are considered bad. The diesel engines are responsible for emitting a high level of pollutants which act as airborne particles like soot and metals. These particles generally cause irritation and allergies to skin and eyes. Even fine particles are often inhaled by the people which lead to respiratory problems affecting the lungs.
The Committee however noted that vehicle manufacturers or assemblers registered under the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Programme (GAMDP) shall be permitted to import Fully Built Units (FBUs) of vehicles into the country at rebate of Customs Duty.
It was further explained that the rationale for the rebate is to enable the manufacturers and assemblers to attain certain critical volumes to make their investments worthwhile, especially at the early stages of the industry. The rebate policy, according to the report, is to be reviewed during or after three years.
The Committee noted that as part of the provisions of the Bill, the Government intends to include security agencies and officers of the security agencies as part of the institutions and persons granted exemptions on imports. The exemption will also provide incentives and rewards to personnel of the security agencies who go on various assignments and peacekeeping operations in the security interest of the country.
According to the Joint Committee’s report presented by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr. Mark Assibbey-Yeboah, the Ministry of Trade and Industry is optimistic that in about three years’ time, Ghana would become the third largest motor vehicle manufacturing country in Africa, behind only South Africa and Morroco when motor manufacturers commence actual operations.
Concerning how much revenue will be impacted by the passage of the Bill, the Report of the Committee indicated in its observation that it was informed that, “the review in policy as contained in the Bill would lead to an estimated revenue loss of approximately Eight Hundred and Two Million, Two Hundred and Fifty-One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Eighty-Five Ghana Cedis (GHC 802,251,785.00) for the first three years.
“This is however expected to be partially offset by the additional revenue from customs duties on vehicles not covered by the programme.”
Some of the known brands of vehicle manufacturers expected to commence operations in Ghana include; Volkswagen,Toyota, Susuki, Nissan, Renault, Kia and Hyundai.
The Government of Ghana in August 2019 launched the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Programme to promote the manufacture of automobiles for both the domestic market and the West African sub-region.
The programme is part of the efforts by Government to develop some strategic anchor industries that will promote economic development in the country.
The Customs Amendment Bill, 2020 Bill seeks to amend the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) to provide incentives for automotive manufacturers and assemblers registered under the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Programme (GAMDP), prohibit the importation of salvaged motor vehicles and specified motor vehicles over ten years of age into the country, increase the import duty on specific motor vehicles and provide import duty exemptions for the security agencies and officers of the security agencies.
Source: Kofi Ahovi||Businessweekghana.com