Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia announced the reduction on Wednesday at government’s Town Hall meeting.
Some people jubilated at hearing this because they assumed that import prices were going to reduce, but that may not be the case.
Mr Akwaboah said there are very few instances where import duties will actually be slashed by 50 or 30 percent as people assume.
“In some instances, there may not be any reduction at all and in fact most of the goods we import – if it is consistent and they are declaring the right value – it [the import duty] should not be touched at all. So it will not necessarily result in the reduction in duty. It is not the same as 50 percent reduction in duty.
“It is only when there is uncertainty – the Customs are not clear that the values an importer has declared are consistent with what they think the value to be. In most cases, the value will stay the same so we shouldn’t be too excited that there is 50 percent reduction on import duties,” he added.
He further clarified that because of the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET), it will be impossible for Ghana to effect a blanket reduction of import duties.
The CET is aimed at ensuring transparent customs procedures, reducing border delays and facilitating intra-regional trade.
“The CET has thresholds, in fact, it has tariff bands that are applicable, Ghana cannot change its own just like that. So it has to fall within the tariff bands…if you say 50 percent reduction in duties then it means that the tariff band which is for example 20 percent will be 10 percent and ECOWS will not accept it,” Mr Akwaboah said.
For the AGI, a total reduction in import rates would have catastrophic effects on Ghanaian industries and that cannot be allowed.