The Automobile Dealers Union is still kicking against the Customs Amendment Bill even after it was passed by Parliament on Thursday.
These car dealers have described the Bill which prohibits them from importing ‘second-hand’ vehicles older than 10 years and salvaged cars as unfortunate.
They insist that it will lead to massive job losses contrary to what the government has said.
Despite earlier concerns, Parliament however approved the Bill on March 12, 2020 after scrutinizing the document.
But speaking on Eyewitness News, General Secretary of the Automobile Dealers Union, Clifford Ansu, lamented government’s disregard for their pleas and bemoaned the negative impacts the implementation of the Bill will have on their already struggling businesses.
To him, the move by the government was poorly-thought through.
“Our position is clear on this matter. We said earlier on that if a car is totally damaged, we are not going to bring those cars into this country because nobody will use his money to buy completely abandoned vehicles and import it into Ghana for sale. Those already damaged here, we have people who get the spare parts, bring them down and people buy for use. Government says the [Bill] will create employment, but we don’t have a problem with it if the assemblers come and establish their outlets here. But we are looking at the number of people who are going to lose their jobs.”
“We the dealers have about two million employees. So now where are we going to put them if we ban the import of these vehicles? The government is going to lose GHS802 million in revenue and it wants us to pay 35 percent in addition to what we always pay,” he noted.
Even before this passage, the Automobile Dealers Union had threatened to demonstrate against the ban on the importation of some categories of salvaged and second-hand vehicles.
But the Union later rescinded its decision and rather opted for dialogue with the government, but this has not yielded any positive results.
Automotive Development Policy
Details of plans to ban the importation of older vehicles into Ghana are captured in the Customs Amendment Bill which is a key step in the government’s Automotive Development Policy.
Ghana put in place the Automotive Development Policy to provide the necessary framework to establish assembly and manufacturing capacity in Ghana.
Toyota, Suzuki, Volkswagen, Nissan and Sinotruk are among the major automobile companies with an interest in Ghana, with some set to begin operations in 2020.
The Akufo-Addo administration wants the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Programme to boost employment and offer an import substitution and export promotion to improve the balance of payment.
Amid the fears over job losses and a potential revenue drop by GHS802 over the next three years, the government said it has plans to make second-hand car dealers distributors of the cars assembled in Ghana by international automobile firms.