By Bernice Bessey .
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), in enforcement of the use of excise tax stamps on carbonated and alcoholic beverages in the country, has seized some products of Accra Brewery Limited (ABL), Kasapreko Company Limited and other manufacturers.
The two mentioned manufacturing companies were also found to have illegally issued out their tax stamps to distributors.
ABL and Kasapreko were discovered during an authenticating and seizure exercise organised by the GRA to ensure that beverage manufacturers comply with the stamp duty, yesterday in Accra.
According to the GRA, the tax stamps were only meant to be affixed on products at the point of manufacturing, not when the products had already reached the wholesalers.
In fact, the GRA team was shocked at this, since it had held meetings with the manufacturers on how to emboss the tax stamp, and have cautioned against issuing the stamps to wholesalers.
As a result, the unauthorised stamps and other products that were not affixed with the tax stamps were seized by the team.
The exercise that started from Osu to Achimota, Mile 7, Gbawe and ended at Mallam, all suburbs of Accra, has brought to the light that there are still products on the markets without the tax stamp.
At these locations, the team stormed shops to seize products that the manufacturers had failed to affixed duty stamps on.
The Chief Revenue Office of the GRA, Kwabena Apau Anto, said the Authority will deal stamp duty defaulters drastically.
To him, he does not know why manufacturers are finding it difficult to comply with the tax law, though the GRA was providing the tax stamps at no cost to the producers and importers.
He explained that distributors who have old stock should apply for the stamps from the GRA, not from the manufacturers, since the Authority will take inventory of the products before it issues out the stamp duty to them.
According to him, the law requires that wholesalers and retailers have to apply the tax stamp on the quantity of products they take, “Manufacturers are supposed to apply for the tax stamps from GRA for their old stock.”
Mr. Anto described the act by ABL and Kasapreko as a serious offense, since it was not right for distributors to use companies’ tax stamp and fix on the products themselves.
The tax stamps are small stickers with security details supplied by the GRA to manufacturers and importers to be affixed to their products before release onto the market.
The duty stamp, under the Excise Stamp Act, 2013, was to enable the Authority authenticate products and check revenue collection.
Products that are required to be affixed with the Excise Stamp include tobacco, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, bottled water and textiles.