The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) says it is working to keep prices of food and non-food items stable to “cushion” Ghanaians during the Christmas festivities.
Dr Joseph Obeng, President of GUTA, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the decision was in recognition of the economic hardship exacerbated by COVID-19, increase in world commodity prices, and exchange rate.
He said though business was slow, members of the Association were ready to sacrifice their profit to ensure that “Ghanaians celebrate this year's festive season happily.”
“For the Christmas, in the wake of high exchange rate and the effect of world commodity prices, we're trying to contain the hikes in prices, and it means that we're forfeiting our profit and we'll do everything to make the Christmas enjoyable for the consuming public. That is our pledge,” he said.
“We give them [consumers] the assurance that we'll keep serving them and that whatever it is to shore up the requirement to meet the demand of the consuming public, we'll bring it at relatively affordable prices,” he added.
Mr Obeng, however, raised concerns about speculations in the business environment following government's indication to scrap the 50 per cent benchmark value (discounts) on 32 categories of imported items cleared at the port.
“There were anticipation and speculations about the reduction of the benchmark values, which might spike some prices, because if the person thinks that the duty is going to increase then the person would have to make it up through the prevailing goods so that he does not lose in the subsequent business,” he said.
The GUTA president insisted that the introduction of the policy had brought relief to the trading community, eased tension on cross-border trade in the wake of the pandemic, therefore, “the reversal of it would spell a doom for the trading community because it's going to seriously increase the prices.”
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) said the benchmark policy encouraged the importation of cheap products and reduction in demand for locally manufactured goods, affecting the growth of local industries.