The American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Ghana, on World Intellectual Property Day is calling on the Ministry of Finance and the Parliament of Ghana to remove the high taxes and duties on software imported into the country in conformity with the World Trade Organization Decision on Valuation of Carrier Media Bearing Software for Data Processing Equipment (WTO Decision 4.1).
World Trade Organization Decision on Valuation of Carrier Media Bearing Software for Data Processing Equipment provides guidance to custom authorities on the valuation of software which should be based the cost of the medium on which the software (data) is stored.
For example software information stored on a CD-ROM, will be valued based on the cost of the CD-ROM, according to this WTO Decision.
However, this Decision is not being applied in Ghana. Ghana Customs valuation of software includes the intellectual property component and a number of taxes which sum up to about 42% of the cost of media increasing the price of software on the Ghanaian market.
The increase in taxes has contributed to the high cost of genuine software products available in Ghana, making many software users susceptible to pirated software products which usually come at a low cost.
Some industry experts estimate that, at least 80% of all computers in Ghana are running on pirated software.
There are significant risks for government institutions, businesses, and individuals using non-genuine and pirated software.
Pirated license does not benefit from online upgrades provided by genuine software companies from time to time to protect against malware and other security viruses.
Also, pirated software could easily open the door to cybercrime which has far reaching consequences for government institutions, and individuals including system crashes and hacking.
The American Chamber of Commerce is an affiliate of the U.S Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC and the representative arm of U.S businesses in the country.
The Intellectual Property Hub (I.P Hub) of the Chamber seeks to advocate for enforcement of intellectual property rights in the country, and works with like minded organizations to raise awareness about I.P issues in the Country.