Mr. Samuel Aggrey, General Secretary, Food and Beverage Association of Ghana, has appealed to government to reduce taxes placed on the beverage industry to promote export.
He said consumers complained about the prices of local beverages as against foreign brands and attributed the difference to high taxes imposed on beverage production in the country, which he said “militated” against the pricing mechanism.
“Now if you are producing in Ghana, it’s not a crime but an incentive for the State and if we export more, it also helps the government to raise the needed revenue to develop this country.
“Unfortunately, we are paying so much tax and the policies are not helping. If we can do something, then we have to look at the taxes we are imposing on these manufacturers. We need to put manufacturers in a condition where they can produce, make profit and put it back into the manufacturing,” he said.
Mr. Aggrey, who said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency ahead of the 2022 Ghana Beverage Awards, suggested that taxes be reduced by benchmarking the production of beverages against the employment the industry offered.
“If you go to the international market, most of them are producing at a lower cost because they have those incentives put in place for them to produce and export.
“In Ghana, we produce and consume about 80 per cent of them but we need to export 80 per cent and consume 20 per cent. To do that, we need to look at our electricity, water quality given to the beverage industry, and taxes imposed on the industry so that these factories will produce at a cheaper cost for exportation onto the international market,” he added.
The General Secretary, who asked industry players to critically assess how they could also contribute towards the production of fruits among other foods within the agricultural sector for beverage production, called on government to provide incentives for industry players to boost production.
“If we take pineapple and mango for instance, very often we see them being rotten away when the season comes. These are areas we need to look at. We expect the government to give us some incentives to make the companies go to those areas to produce the concentrates to store them for periods when they are out of season.
“If not, we will continue to throw away the excess produce from the farmers. We also need government to set up policies to ensure that manufacturers play key role in production of the fruits used in the country,” Mr. Aggrey said.
To protect water bodies and make beverages safer for consumption, Mr. Aggrey urged the government to halt illegal mining, which polluted water bodies in the country.
“If not, very soon Ghana will have to import water or pay heavy price to treat water for production,” he noted.
By Eunice Hilda A. Mensah