Czech - Ghanaian Chamber of Commerce

Tax Stamp Policy launched last Friday in Accra under heavy protest of producers.

Tax Stamps are small stickers with security features supplied by government to some manufacturers and importers to be affixed to their products before they are released onto the market. The presence of the Tax Stamps on a product, therefore, provides enough guarantee of product authenticity.

The Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori Atta, described the policy as another step in government’s partnership with private businesses to build a strong and business-friendly economy. Mr Ofori Atta disclosed that government would begin the implementation of the policy with tobacco, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, bottled water and textiles.

Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, Commissioner-General, GRA, said the policy formed part of government’s efforts to address the counterfeiting of products on the Ghanaian market and to improve revenue assurance.Mr Nti disclosed that GRA would, between now and the end of the year, mount an intensive public education on the role of every stakeholder.

Local manufacturers are required to affix the stamp on each product unit before the product was delivered out of the factory, importers of excisable goods had the option of affixing stamp on product by the authorized foreign manufacturer of the importer; affixing product with stamp at the point of entry in a specialized facility; affixing product with stamp in a place or premises approved by GRA.

The Minister for Planning and Chairman for the occasion, Prof. George Yaw Gyan-Baffour, in his remarks, explained that the Tax Stamp policy was not a new tax, but rather a new way of administering the already exiting Excise Tax. He further stated that the policy would enable the GRA to effectively monitor the payment of Excise Tax by registered manufacturers and importers and close the loopholes in the administration of Excise Tax.

However local manufacturing firms- Coca Cola, Bel-aqua have expressed concern about the policy saying they are not prepared to start. They are having challenges purchasing the affixing machine which the government directed under the new policy order.

Head of Corporate Affairs at the Coca-Cola Bottling plant at Spintex in Accra, Bethel Yeboah told JoyBusiness, his outfit is still engaging government for a reconsideration of the policy.                             The Company is one of the largest local manufacturing companies in Ghana, producing close to 100,000 cartons of bottled soft drinks into the market. Several other local manufacturing firms would have to invest about $600,000 to $800,000 plus installation charges for the installing these machines.

The Blow Group of Companies, producers of BEL-AQUA Mineral Water say the complete shutdown of their plants at Tema Industrial Area will form part of strategies to cut down on cost.

So far, the government has threatened to sanction businesses that fail to comply with the March 1st deadline for the implementation of the Tax Stamp Policy. “Eligible businesses are respectfully advised to comply with the 1st March 2018 deadline or risk prescribed sanctions under the law,” Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng said in a statement.

The Food and Beverage Association of Ghana (FBAG) threatened to withdraw all locally manufactured products from the market if the government goes ahead with the implementation of the Tax Stamp Policy on March 1st.

But no beverage manufacturer, including Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited, Kasapreko Company Limited, Voltic Ghana Limited, Accra Brewery Limited, Pepsi Ghana Limited and Coca-Cola Bottling Company Limited, had procured or installed the tax stamp affixing machine needed for the smooth enforcement of the policy to try to meet the deadline.

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