GPA to increase book prices by 40% in June


By Buertey Francis BORYOR                       

A forty percent increase in the national price of books is set to take effect in June 2024, according to the Ghana Publishers Association (GPA).

The Association’s president, Asare Konadu Yamoah, at a press conference held Accra International Press Centre stated this increase is due to the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported books as well as other government policies which are having a detrimental impact on its members’ businesses.

He however expressed the association’s willing to engage with government and support it to find innovative means of revenue generation, urging same to rethink its tax policy on books and offer parents and people providing services in the education sector some respite.

“Businesses will thrive if government has a policy of consulting with them before any new landmark policies are admitted into operation, and that is what we want to encourage it to do. We are open to dialogue and consultation.

We are ready to meet with government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Finance and Ghana Revenue Authority, on this issue because we have innovative measures that will improve the book publishing industry.

“Until such conversation is initiated, we have no alternative but to increase the prices of books. Starting from June, prices will go up between 30 and 40 percent. If you were to break down the 40 percent increase you would realise that we are not fleecing parents, neither are we burdening them, but it has become necessary for us to do this,” he elaborated.

He is therefore demanded immediate removal of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on all materials that are imported into the country to support education, culture and lifestyles including – books and other teaching and learning materials. He added that government should be seen providing incentives that enable local printing firms to be competitive rather than imposing huge taxes on overseas printing as a measure to discourage imports.

“The blanket imposition of VAT at about 27.5% at the onset has not helped to reduce importation and cost of books in the country. This is because not all the books required in our schools are published in the country.

Therefore, categorising all of them – those indigenously published and printed and those from overseas – and imposing a blanket VAT to the levels currently being charged cannot be justified,” he added.

“With the exchange rate instability, too, no matter what publishers do, prices for books will go up. Between last year and this year, the United States dollar has appreciated against the Ghana cedi by 14%.”

Mr. Yamoah further called for withdrawal of the book assessment and approval role granted the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), as it cannot be trusted as an independent, transparent regulator.

“Parliament must work with industry to find a place to anchor the assessment process. NaCCA should focus on its primary role of developing a curriculum for the country and monitoring its compliance.

“We cannot work with an organisation that has openly declared its intention to support a particular publisher, encourage the Ministry of Education to produce its textbooks, and use all state power and resources allocated for the implementation of its mandate for such a self-serving agenda,” he noted.

Additionally, he appealed for the Ministry of Education to settle an amount totalling GHȻ320million it has owed GPA for two and a half years, as the delay in payment is killing their businesses.

“The books, costing a total sum of GH₵320million, were ordered from GPA under the standard-based curriculum two and a half years ago – and have still not been settled. Is it fair for the ministry to proceed to commission a publisher to develop textbooks for the common core programme when books it ordered on credit years ago have not been paid?

“What would be the rationale for the Ministry of Education, instead of fulfilling its objective to allocate a complete set of required textbooks to pupils (1:1) under the standard-based curriculum, to go ahead and negotiate for the supply of textbooks under the common core programme?” he questioned.

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