The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has created all the needed condition for stakeholders to comply with the tax stamp directives but some firms have remained unconcerned, the Chief Revenue Officer at the GRA and the Head of Excise Unit, Mr Kwabena Apau Anto, has said.
He said the officers of the GRA would be stationed at the various factories for 24 hours to ensure that no product leaves the factories to the market until compliance was achieved.
In a media briefing after a day’s exercise, which deployed a team of GRA taskforce to some selected beverage manufacturing firms in Accra to commence a nationwide full enforcement and compliance on the excise tax stamp, Mr Anto said the taskforce team have been assigned across the country to ensure that no product leaves it manufacturing firms without a stamp.
“Now the new strategy is that, we are not going to see any new product without a stamp going into the market. We have positioned officers across the country especially at all the manufacturing firms of the excisable product.
“If you have stamp on the product we don’t have any problem with you but if you don’t have any stamp on your product, no product without the stamp is going out again,” he stated.
Mr. Anto explained that the policy is very significant because it would protect products from being counterfeited, protect the health of consumers and it also help to generate more revenue for government.
He urged the public to always look out for products with the excise tax stamp and desist from patronising products without the stamp to both protect their health and help government to raise more revenue for developmental projects.
In September 2018 , Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Emmanuel Kofi Nti announced his outfit will commence a nationwide full enforcement and compliance exercise on the excise tax stamp after it launched the Tax Stamp Policy, which originates from the Excise Stamp Act, 2013 (Act 873).
During the exercise, products, which had no tax stamp affixed on them were impounded at the Achimota Mall branch of Shoprite.
Some of the products seized included bottled water;Voltic Mineral Water and Special Ice), carbonated drinks (Fanta, Coca Cola, and Sprite), alcoholic beverages, energy drinks among others.
The GRA Team also prevented products of BSC Beverages Ghana Limited, the producers and distributors of Pepsi and its associated carbonated drinks, from being sent to the market until they had been duly stamped.
The Team also prevented products of the Accra Brewery Limited (ABL), from going out of the production centre because they were not stamped with the excise tax stamp.
At ABL, the management withheld the Team of GRA from entering the premises to ascertain whether or not the products had been duly stamped but later engaged the leadership of the GRA Team in a closed-door meeting.
Prior to the closed door meeting, Mr Philip Redman, the ABL Country Director for Ghana, said the company was not making any statement on the situation but would in due time issue a statement to that effect.
After the meeting, Mr Seth Dwira, the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations at Customs Division of GRA, told the media that the company had pleaded with the Authority to commence stamping with the excise tax stamp from December, this year.
Mr Dwira said, however, the Authority was unwilling to compromise on enforcing the policy because it was important for every company to comply with the Authority’s directive to raise more revenue to finance state projects.
At BSC Beverages Ghana Limited, more than 40 trucks loaded with unstamped carbonated drinks were ready for the market when the GRA officials stopped them.
The management of BSC Beverages Ghana Limited declined comments on the situation.
Meanwhile, at GIHOC Distilleries, the situation was different as they had complied with GRA’s directives and embossed all products with the excise tax stamp.