Parliament last Friday passed a bill to exempt raw materials used for the manufacturing of HIV/AIDS drugs and the printing of text and exercise books from import duties.

The Minister of Finance, in presenting the 2014 Budget, outlined policy measures that the government intended to undertake to promote and increase the printing of textbooks and exercise books, as well as the manufacturing of the HIV/AIDS drugs locally.

It was to give effect to the policy that the Customs and Excise Duties and other Taxes Amendments No 2 Bill was presented to Parliament on November 28, 2013.

Rationale for the Bill

Currently, the importation of text and exercise books into the country attracts zero import duty, while the importation of raw materials for the printing of text and exercise books attracts 20 per cent import duty.

The current regime discriminates against local manufacturers and reduce their competitiveness.

It was, therefore, envisaged that the removal of the tax will bring equity and help to promote the local printing industry.

Regarding the HIV/AIDS drugs, there has been intermittent shortage of drugs and the measure is to address the situation so that persons living with HIV/AIDS will not be adversely affected by the intermittent shortages.

A deputy minister of Finance, Mr Ato Forson moved the motion for the bill to be read for the third time in the House and he was supported by the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Mr James Klutse Avedzi.

Presenting the committee’s report, Mr Avedzi said to prevent the abuse of the new regime and to ensure that the exemptions achieved the intended purposes, the exemption of raw materials for the local manufacture of HIV/AIDS drugs would be done under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.

In the same vein, the exemptions for the raw materials for the printing of text and exercise books would be done through tenders administered by the Ministry of Education.

The relief will also be controlled with the support of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The committee, however, urged that exempted raw materials meant for the printing of text and exercise books should be controlled by strict measures to ensure that the system was not abused.

The projected revenue that would be lost to the state as result of the removal of the tax on imported materials meant for the printing of text and exercise books for 2014 is GH?6,807,574.96.

Source Daily Graphic


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