Ban on ‘accident car’ imports: Dealers, clearing agents, VADUG call off demonstration

The Coalition of Car and Spare Parts Dealers, Clearing Agents and Artisans in Tema, Spintex and Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region, in conjunction with Vehicle and Asset Dealers Union of Ghana (VADUG), has said it wishes to inform its members and the general public that its demonstration scheduled for Thursday, 27 August 2020 has been called off.

A statement signed by Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary, Tema Car Dealers Association, dated Wednesday, 26 August 2020, explained: “This follows a meeting convened by the Minister of Trade and Industry, which was attended by the Commissioner and Senior Officials of the Customs Division of GRA, the Director-General of Ghana Standards Authority and Representatives of the Coalition, as well as the leadership of Automobile Dealers Union of Ghana (ADUG) and Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association”.

The statement said: “The Minister and the Commissioner of Customs have assured members of the Coalition that their concerns will be addressed during the implementation of the Customs Amendment Act, 2020 and that further consultations will be held in defining the detailed implementation modalities of the Act”.

The Coalition said it “wishes to give full assurance to all its members that they will continue to engage with the government to ensure that their businesses and livelihoods are protected in the implementation of the Ghana Automotive Development Policy”.

The group, on August 23, announced the intended demonstration against the government‘s ban on old car imports.

The group said it wants the ban reversed.

In its earlier statement serving notice of the now-called-off demonstration, the coalition said the Customs Amendment Act, 2020, which comes into force from November this year, will have an adverse impact on the sector as far as jobs are concerned.

The “protest is to serve as a strong signal to the government that its decision will collapse our business and deprive more than 20,000 artisans of our livelihood if the policy is rolled out on 1 November 2020.”

The coalition said it took the decision to march after all its meetings with the President and his Minister of Trade and Industry produced no good results for them.

The nationwide demonstration was billed to have started from Tema followed by replicas in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale.

It was “to register our protest against the implementation of the policy on 1 November 2020.”

Ghana banned the importation of cars older than 10 years to encourage international companies including Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co. to set up local plants in the West African country.

The new law also provides import-duty rebates for companies that manufacture or assemble cars in Ghana, according to the act of parliament obtained Thursday by Bloomberg.

The embargo will take effect six months after the manufacturing or assembling of new vehicles in Ghana begin under a special government program meant to draw investment.

Volkswagen, Nissan, Toyota Motor Corp.Suzuki Motor Corp. and Renault SA are among automakers weighing the local assembly of vehicles in a country where used cars make up about 70% of vehicle imports. Ghana is seeking to become a car-manufacturing hub for West Africa, a region with more than 380 million people.

The import restrictions could cost the government as much as $143 million in customs revenue in the first three years after implementation, according to parliamentary documents. Used-car sellers offer more affordable deals in a country where auto loans are rare.

The law, signed by President Nana Akufo-Addo on April 30, also bans the importation of cars which have been involved in accidents, which dealers bring in and repair to provide even cheaper options to consumers.

The ban on these will take effect from October, regardless of their date of manufacture.

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