Prices of books to increase by 40 per cent next month

The Ghana Publishers Association (GPA) has announced that book prices will increase by 40 per cent effective June 1, 2024. The association put the increase on the 'difficult business environment' and the 27.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) levied on a list of materials imported into the country to 'support education, culture and lifestyles.' Addressing the press in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Asare Konadu Yamoah, President GPA, said 'exchange rate instability' and the 'blanket imposition' of the tax was detrimental to their business. He said though the VAT was to support the printing of books locally, it had not reduced importation and the cost of books in the country. Mr Yamoah said that local publishers still needed to import some books that could not be printed in the country; therefore, the tax on local and foreign publications was unfavourable. 'Most of the books for technical and vocational education, books for tertiary education and books to support the development of reading culture are mostly imported and cannot be printed locally as they are not published in the country. 'Therefore, categorising all of them and those that are indigenously published and printed overseas and imposing a blanket VAT to the levels currently being charged cannot be justified,' he stated. The Association, therefore, urged the government to reconsider the tax policy on books to ease the burden on parents and educational service providers. Mr Yamoah noted that local book printing firms needed more incentives to remain competitive instead of the government imposing 'huge taxes' on books printed overseas. '…Taxes on printing inputs which are all imported have to be removed. Credit for the purchase of printing inputs should be favourable. 'Even though the cost of importation has gone up, importers of printed books are likely to still import as the cost of importation will still be cheaper than the local printing,' he stated. The publishers said the association was willing to dialogue with the relevant government agencies on the matter, but that until such a conversation was initiated, book prices would have to be raised. Source: Ghana News Agency