Reverse Benchmark Value Discounts to save local industry – GAWU to gov’t
The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) and the Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FAWU) have mounted strong opposition to government’s decision to indefinitely suspend the implementation the reversal of the 50% benchmark policy at the ports.
According to the two Unions, government’s latest move, if not rescinded would render hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians jobless. The Unions who made this known at a press conference in Tema on Friday, January 14, 2022 also called for a level playing field approach to solving this thorny issue.
Addressing the press, the general secretary of FAWU, Kenneth Koomson, indicated among others things that the suspension of the removal of the benchmark value has riled up a number of local manufacturing companies including the oil palm and related industry.
“Wilmar Africa which has annual production capacity of 300,000 metric tons of oil palm, representing over 50% of Ghana’s 200,000 MT annual consumption has indicated to the Union to shut down operations if the benchmark value policy persists. This we must mention here, is not different from other companies affected by the benchmark policy. It is instructive to point out that, prior to the introduction of the benchmark policy, Wilmar was producing over 70% of its capacity, now doing less than 48% due to the impact of the policy.”
Mr. Koomson added that an estimated 3,000 factory workers and about 24,000 plantation workers in the oil palm industry alone risk losing their jobs if the reversed policy is not immediately implemented.
“Currently, there are 4 main oil palm plantations directly employing over 24,000 workers and these jobs stand to disappear if the benchmark value policy is not reversed. Today, over 3000 permanent employees in the factory and 24,000 jobs in the plantation sector risk loosing their jobs if government fails to remove the reduction on the benchmark policy.”
The group said that “instead of the universal application of the policy to all imports, imports which come to compete with locally manufactured products be exempted from the policy”.
They are therefore demanding the immediate implementation of the policy reversal in order to save the jobs of workers in the country.
“We therefore appeal to government that based on the negative impact of the benchmark policy on jobs and survival of the industry, government should as a matter urgency implement the removal of the benchmark policy.”
By: Carlos Calony,
Tema Metropolis Content Manager,