Importers Caution Gov’t On Implementation Of Tax Stamp Policy
Ghanaian importers have cautioned government about the implementation of the Tax Stamp policy.
According to them the policy would frustrate their business and cause them to incur losses.
The importers made their worries known during an inspection of the Tax Stamp machines at the Tema Port by officials of the Ministry of Finance, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Association of Importers and Exporters and Food and Beverages Association, among others.
The General Secretary of the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana, Samuel Aggrey said government would face serious challenges if the policy is not well implemented.
“If we want to introduce tax stamp policy, we should make it in such a way that it wouldn’t create any problems for us, and if we want to introduce it, we should do that with some few products and iron out the challenges before going to other products,” he said.
Mr. Aggrey said a wholesale approach would bring problems “which would be passed onto the consumers by the importers.
“It also means that those who cannot afford to pay for the stamp would not bring their products and that would mean destroying the industry”.
He said the January 2018 deadline for the commencement of the policy seemed a difficult task, calling on government to take on board the issues raised and put measures in place to address them before the policy starts.
“Do we start and people start having crisis before we have to stop and reconsider. We should make sure it works, if we are not addressing the issues then we don’t need it,” he said.
Duplicity Of Taxes
He raised the issue of duplicity of taxes, sating “now even, after paying your excise duty on water, you have to pay your excise stamp on it. So, if I am not being double taxed on one item, then I do not know what it is.”
He pleaded with Government not to burden the consumer because “as a business man I would have to pass anything you pass to me on to the consumer which becomes a problem.”
The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Mr. Samson Asaki, observed that delays in the fixing of the stamps could cause them to pay penalties at the port which would affect their business.
He appealed to Government to fix stamps at other locations so that in case of a choke with the Tema Tax Stamp site, they could be referred to other sites to avoid delays.
The Chairman of the Tax Stamp Implementation Committee, Mr. Sam AkwasiYankyera in his remarks allayed the fears of importers regarding the introduction of the tax stamp policy.
He said “When people bring goods from outside the country, this is what would be used to determine that their goods came into the country through the right channel.”
He said the tax stamp would protect those who have genuine products on the market against those with counterfeit products.
According to him, the committee would determine as time goes on measures that could mitigate the challenges that might come with the implementation.
He urged the importers to take heart because the policy is not something to distract their work.