The Ghana Revenue Authority, (GRA) is warning against selective compliance in the implementation of the excise tax stamp.
This follows some checks by the authority, which revealed that some manufacturers and retailers have failed to affix the stamp on some of their products.
Therefore, the authority on Wednesday embarked on an exercise to ensure full compliance. The team visited some retail shops in Accra, including, Shoprite at the West Hills Mall, Max Mart at 37 and Melcom Plus at the Industrial area.
Hundreds of products, mainly carbonated drinks, were removed from the shelves of the shops.
Addressing the media after the exercise, Head of Communication and Public Affairs at the GRA, Akwasi Bobbie- Ansah said the exercise was to ensure compliance of the excise tax stamp act.
He explained further “as you saw, we asked them to remove the products that do not have the stamp. The purpose of this exercise is to give shops their last warning to comply with the tax stamp policy. This is a caution, the next time we come around we are going to apply the law. The goods will be seized if the excisable products don’t have the stamp.”
The GRA is also appealing to the public not to purchase exercisable products that do not have the tax stamp affixed on them.
“We also want to appeal to the public that they don’t buy the product because we cannot vouch for the originality of the products,” stated Bobbie-Ansah.
GRA introduced the exercise tax stamp as a way to reduce revenue lost through illicit trade. It says illegal operators within Ghana smuggle tobacco, spirits and other alcoholic beverages into the country, as well as indulge in the sale of counterfeit products.
The authority observed that goods in transit, particularly cigarettes that are diverted or smuggled back into the country and sold on the market, are difficult to detect.
It claimed that these illegal activities cause significant revenue loss to government and also put legitimate brand owners and businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
These developments the authority said have necessitated various measures for improving current inspection, verification and monitoring procedures towards increasing revenue as well as addressing the other issues raised.
The Excise Tax Stamp Act 2003 (Act 873) was passed by the parliament in December 2013, ostensibly to enable the GRA to enforce the affixing of Excise Tax Stamp on specified excisable goods before they are delivered and cleared from the ports for sale.
By Nana Oye Ankrah