Reduce prices of imported drugs -SEND Ghana

March 17, 2017
Source: Rashidatu IBRAHIM/thebftonline.com/Ghana
Reduce prices of imported drugs -SEND Ghana

SEND Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, has called for the reduction of the prices of special imported medicines, following the removal of taxes on same by government.

George Osei-Bimpeh, Country Director of SEND Ghana said: “Government has the goodwill by removing the special import duty on imported drugs, and government has indicated that it is committed to making sure that essential medicines are provided to all citizens, so that is something that we want to commend.

But what we have noticed is that whenever something like that comes from government, they do not often respond by reducing prices, so government can do this by engaging the Ghana Pharmaceutical Council and the association of dealers in imported medicines for them to also extend the same gesture in a way that will translate into reduction of prices on the affected drugs.”

He was speaking to the B&FT on the sidelines of SEND Ghana’s analysis of the 2017 budget.

The latest Oxford Business Group report shows that although more than 75percent of pharmaceutical companies in Ghana are locally owned, only 30percernt of the market is covered by local production, with the bulk of drugs imported from India and China.

The new government, few weeks ago, announced in its maiden budget, the abolishing of the 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines, and a special import levy on drugs not produced locally to provide some relief to consumers and importers.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, subsequently presented four tax bills to Parliament, as government seeks the legal backing to enforce tax cuts announced in its maiden 2017 budget statement.

The bills, which have been approved by the 275-member Parliament, are: the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017; Special Petroleum Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017; Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2017; and the Customs and Excise (Petroleum Taxes and Petroleum Related Levies) (Repeal) Bill, 2017.

The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017, now makes it possible to tax-exempt gains made on securities listed on the stock exchange.

The Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2017 now gives effect to the removal of levies payable on specific imported goods.

Chief Executive Officer of SEND West Africa, Siapha Kamara, noted that: “We are holding this media engagement to highlight our concerns about the budget.

“We in SEND Ghana are committed not only to drawing attention to, but to making sure that the budget, which represents the national resources and how it is allocated across different sectors, is driven first and foremost, by the agenda of promoting equity”, Mr. Kamara added.

He also commended government for taking on-board, some of the issues that SEND Ghana has recommended through some of their intervention programmes.

SEND-Ghana is a non-governmental organisation that works to promote good governance and equality of women and men in Ghana, ensuring that people’s rights and wellbeing are guaranteed.