From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi .
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has advocated a total boycott of products without excise tax stamps in order to enable the Authority effectively monitor the payment of excise tax and ensure that the correct quantum of tax is paid.
Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti, Commissioner General of GRA, who recommended the boycott, appealed to the consuming public to refuse to purchase the affected products which do not have the stamps affixed in observing the slogan “No tax stamp, no purchase” or “No stamp, no purchase.”
He said, by law, the excise tax stamp must be affixed on specified excisable goods in Ghana, whether locally manufactured or imported, and mentioned some of the affected goods as cigarettes and other tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, whether bottled, canned or packaged in any form, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages in any form, bottled water and others prescribed by the Minister of Finance.
The excise Tax Stamp policy was launched in Accra in August 2017, after the Excise Tax Stamp Act 873 had been passed in 2013.
He said the objectives of the excise stamp policy implementation are to control the importation and local production of excisable goods for revenue and health purposes, check under-declared tax revenue, and protect and increase tax revenue.
Mr. Nti said this in Kumasi when the GRA undertook an operation to inspect excisable goods at some shops, that the implementation of the excise tax stamp does not mean the introduction of any new tax, but rather, it is a new way of administering the already existing Excise Tax.
According to him, the GRA is now enforcing compliance of the policy, that the law has come to stay, and that the Authority will enforce the law to the letter and cautioned domestic manufacturers of excisable products to comply.
Mr. Nti explained that apart from the revenue purpose, the policy is also meant to protect and safeguard our health, because it distinguishes the genuine from fake products.
The GRA Commissioner General said the first phase of the enforcement of compliance exercise, focused on the removal of goods without the stamp from the shelves over a six-month period since January, while the second phase would focus on the seizure of such products and the imposition of the required penalties, which include the imposition of a 300% penalty of the duties and taxes involved, and imprisonment to a term of five years, or both.
At the Kumasi City Mall, some, including Club Beer, were without the excise tax stamp, while the Ababio Express Supermarket had total non-compliance of the law.
Mr. Nyankyera, Chief Technical Adviser, said the GRA would ensure voluntary compliance to avoid confrontations in the implementation of the policy.
According to him, the necessary sanctions would apply to those who refuse to adhere to the regulations regarding the Excise Stamp Tax and advised all manufacturers to register with the GRA to get the tax stamp.