Officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) recently seized large quantities of products which did not have tax stamps from some factories and retail shops in Accra.
The unannounced operation, according to the Kwabena Apau, Chief Revenue Officer at GRA, formed part of the enforcement of the excise tax stamp policy, which was introduced at the beginning of the year.
They visited SBC Beverages Ghana Limited, producers of Pepsi, ABL Company Limited, producers of Club Beer, Beta Malt, GIHOC distilleries and Achimota Mall, among others.
The excise tax stamps have traceable and security-enhanced features, which serve as preliminary evidence of the payment of the required duties and taxes and also provide an audit trail for tracing importers and manufacturers of counterfeited goods.
At the SBC Beverages Ghana Limited, officials of GRA intercepted over 20 trucks that were loaded with Pepsi products without the tax stamps from moving out for distribution.
Kwabena Apau told the press that GRA would only ensure that only goods with the tax stamps are allowed to be distributed.
He said the Commissioner-General of the GRA held a press conference recently and indicated that this week GRA would enter into the final phase of the enforcement of the policy.
He said any new product without the stamp would not be allowed on the market.
Mr. Apau explained that the tax stamp has two main important functions- the first is to check fake products on the market and secondly to ensure that taxes are paid.
“Those without the tax stamps will be surcharged to pay a penalty of three hundred percent duty on them.”
At the ABL Ghana Limited, the team stopped a vehicle from moving out of the factory to distribute products without the stamps.
However, at GIHOC Distilleries, Managing Director of the company, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, took the team to its packaging plant where the stamps were affixed to excisable products.
He expressed delight at the GRA taskforce that went round to ensure that the right thing was done.
“We are happy and welcome the idea of using the tax stamps on our products, because it’s helping consumers to identify our quality products which have the stamps on them and the fake ones being produced by some unscrupulous persons in the Brong Ahafo and Western Regions.”
At Achimota Mall, the team seized a number of consumables, mostly Coca Cola products and other foreign products without the tax stamps.
The Excise Tax Stamp Act, 2013 (ACT 873) was passed by Parliament in December 2013 with the aim of helping the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to enforce the policy of affixing excise tax stamps on specific excisable goods before they are delivered, cleared from any port or presented for sale in Ghana.
The Act received presidential assent in January 2014.
Excisable products expected to be affixed with the stamps include cigarettes and other tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic and carbonated beverages, bottled water, textiles and other goods determined by the Minister of Finance.
By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey