-Massive Tax Slashes For Her Imports.
While Ghanaian importers are virtually collapsing under the cut-throat taxes at Ghana’s ports on freight, transport, duties and other charges, Ms. Eunice Hinneh, a close ally of President Akufo Addo and Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, has been allowed to import frozen foods without paying charges and taxes on freight like everybody else.
Essentially, the discounts given La Bianca means Ghana would be losing millions of dollars in duties and taxes that should have been charged her.
This is because La Bianca is the biggest frozen food importer in Ghana after the unfair advantage granted her at the ports since 2017 had virtually y collapsed the businesses of other importers.
There are speculations from some critics that it is no coincidence that La Bianca’s is one of the biggest campaign financiers of the Akufo Addo campaign as she enjoys juicy exemptions at the port, coupled with her curious appointments to the Council of State and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GHAPOHA) by President Akufo Addo.
There are suggestions that there could be a link deeper because the Akufo Addo family used to own the biggest frozen food import business in Ghana through their company Amaadi Coldstores Ltd.
Amaadi has curiously been edged out of the top spot by La Bianca, yet the Akufo Addo administration keeps propping the company with extremely favourable conditions to make it dominate the market.
President Akufo Addo’s junior brother Edward Akufo Addo, aka “Bumpty” is the CEO of Amaadi Coldstores, but his attention has reportedly shifted from that business since the NPP won power in 2017. He is reportedly now firmly rooted in Ghana’s crude oil industry, among other things.
Meanwhile, intercepted documents from Ms. Hinneh’s company, La Bianca Company Limited show that on April 6, 2021, she wrote to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) asking to be exempted from paying port charges for her private importation of frozen foods into the country.
She wanted to be taxed on half the value of freight and transportation of her goods into the country, even though, it is the combined cost of the freight and cost of the goods that the GRA and the GHAPORA use as a basis to calculate their ratio of port levies, duties and taxes.
For instance, taxes will be calculated on freight and transport value of her goods at only US$1,700 for a 40-footer container, even though the real cost of freight on imports from Europe, South and North America or Asia cost an average of US$ 3,500.
Additionally, the GRA will grant La Bianca up to 10% discount on the value of her frozen imports before duties and port charges are calculated on them.
The GRA communicated this extra incentive to Ms. Hinneh’s company in a letter dated April 20, 2021, saying: “…The Commissioner of Customs Division would grant a markdown of 5% to 10% Benchmark values…” The GRA went ahead to list virtually all the variety of frozen foods she imports into the country.
All the incentives given La Bianca meansalmost 60% of the value of her imports would have somehow subsidised, making it possible for her to edge out all competitions.
Whatsup News has gathered from port sources that no other importer is given such leverage at the.
Indeed, some importers have been forced to abandon their consignments because the port authorities would not grant any concession to ordinary importers who fell foul of paying port charges.
Incidentally, this is not the first time that La Bianca has been given these exemptions at the port, she has been enjoying the state-sponsored subsidies to her private business since 2017.
In 2017, importers started crying foul over unfair competition they have been subjected to against La Bianca.
Around July 2017, Ms. Hinneh’s companies were charged between $0.30 and 0.64 cents as customs value per kilogramme on Frozen Chicken while her competitors were being charged between 0.90 cents and $1 per kilogramme.
At the time, she was still married to her former husband and was called Eunice Jacqueline Buah and she was hotly criticised for using her influence in the Akufo Addo administration to secure massive discounts import taxes for her frozen imports, some of which has been raised eyebrows about their quality and a possible questionable parallel business model she is using to ply her trade.