The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) says it is determined to ensure the newly introduced Excise Stamp regime works, as it blocks tax leakages and boosts government’s revenue.
Head of Excise unit at GRA, Kwabena Anto Apau, who gave the assurance, stated that mostly taxes on tobacco and beverages are not paid although the GRA needs more revenue for Ghana’s development.
“We must also ensure that tax compliant businesses are protected from harsh effects of activities like smuggling and under-invoicing” he added.
Anto Apau was speaking to the media when the GRA Excise stamp enforcement team paid unannounced visits to some big supermarkets across the capital to inspect and ensure compliance with the Excise Tax Stamp which is to be affixed on all excisable products.
The directive took effect on March 1, this year amidst complaints especially from members of the Food & Beverage Association of Ghana (FABAG).
The GRA, as part of measures to increase compliance in the collection of Excise, launched the Tax Stamp Policy, which emanates from the Excise Stamp Act, 2013 (Act 873).
Tax Stamps are small stickers with security features supplied by government to some manufacturers and importers to be affixed to their products before they are released onto the market.
The presence of the Tax Stamps on a product, therefore, provides enough guarantee of product authenticity.
Anto Apau told the media the exercise is to measure the extent of compliance with the law.
“We have had a lot of discussions with key stakeholders in the area to ensure that it is implemented. While the state is clamouring more of revenue to pursue its agenda, some stakeholders have been faulting the state and under-reporting their case. So this measure is to ensure that we raise additional revenue and to curb the infiltration of smuggled products from the market,” he said.
The team visited four major retails shops. They are Melcom, Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) Distilleries, the West Hills mall branch of Shoprite, Maxmart and Bacchus wines.
Some of the shops have done selective compliance on their products with the explanation that the products without the stamps were old stocks.
That notwithstanding, the team instructed them to take it off the shelves and ensure the right thing were done or seize all products without an Excise Tax stamp upon during next such visits.
At GIHOC distilleries, Chief Executive Officer of the company, Maxwell Opoku Jumah, mentioned that his outfit supports the Excise Tax stamp initiative by GRA to rake in more taxes for government.
“We at GIHOC don’t have a problem with paying taxes because whatever we pay goes to the government.
“We have no problem paying taxes, but more importantly this makes our work easier in the sense there are a lot of people doing fake alcoholic beverages who are not paying tax and this will allow us to trace the fake ones. So if you are going to do fake products pay taxes on the fake also” he stressed.