The American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) has bemoaned the unduly high cost of computer software in Ghana, saying the development is increasing the taste for pirated software.
The Chamber in a press release issued at the end its deliberations with the Registrar General and the Ghana Police Service attributed the high cost of computer software parts to the high taxes and duties levied on them by government.
“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,” the Chamber said.
It quoted some industry experts as estimating that, at least 80 per cent of all computers in Ghana are running on pirated software.
AMCHAM submitted that “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 Chamber therefore appealed to the Ghanaian government to remove the high taxes and duties on computer software imported into the country.
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 Ghana.
Further, to mark this year’s World Intellectual Property Day on Friday, the Chamber was concerned that Ghana had failed to implement the contents of World Trade Organization (WTO) Decision on Valuation of Carrier Media Bearing Software for Data Processing Equipment (WTO Decision 4.1)
WTO Decision 4.1 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, but the Decision is not being applied in Ghana, the Chamber lamented.
“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,” it explained.
According to AMCHAM there were significant risks to government institutions, businesses, and individuals using non-genuine and pirated software, pointing out that “a 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 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.
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