Parliament’s joint Finance and Trade Committees are recommending the approval of an amendment to the Customs Bill although this will result in the loss of jobs and revenue to the tune of ¢802, 251,785 million.
The Committee in its report, has regardless of this knowledge, urged Parliament to pass the Bill into law because they are convinced that in the long term, those loses will be made up for.
When passed, the new law will result in a ban – for three years – of the importation of overaged and condemned vehicles that are more 10 years old.
Also, salvage vehicles regardless of age, type or description will be banned under the law.
The new law aims to offer incentives to vehicle manufacturers under the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Programme.
Already, automobile giants like VW, Toyota, Renault, and Nissan are all planning to set up assembly plants in Ghana.
The Committee said after carefully examining the Bill, “it finds that its passage would provide incentives to attract automotive manufacturers and assemblies to Ghana under the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Programme. It will also enhance the clearing of imported vehicles and other accoutrements for the Security Agencies.
“The Committee, therefore, recommends to the House to adopt this report and pass the Customs (Amendment) Bill, 2020 into law, subject to the amendments proposed, in accordance with Article 106(13) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House.”
But the NDC MPs are unhappy about the job loses that will occur when the Bill is passed into law and have asked for it to be withdrawn.
Tamale Central MP, Inusah Fuseini said “there is a large body of Ghanaians whose business is second-hand vehicle dealing and there were represented at the joint committee meeting and they raised a point and I agree, that this amendment Bill that is seeking to prohibit the importation of certain class of second-hand vehicle does not offer them any protection.
“Why should a Bill be seeking to create employment and at the same time seeking to put people out of business? Our humble suggestion is to take the Bill back, work on it to create a legal rebate for second-hand car dealers,” he added.
The Majority is, however, in full support of the amendment and passage of the Bill into law.
Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare insists the Bill is the best way forward.
“What this bill seeks to do is to make it possible for these automobile companies that we want to encourage to come and set up in Ghana to enjoy some tax exemptions and waivers.
“We also believe that as they come in to create jobs for us, in the end, relatively these vehicles will be cheaper to enable Ghanaians to own brand new vehicles.”