The enforcement team of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), on Wednesday embarked on a sensitization exercise to companies, retailers and shops that produce, import and sell beverages, bottled water, and carbonated drinks, sprites and wine to check the extent of their compliance of the excise tax stamps.
The exercise was part of measures to assess the compliance level and to educate the people involved on the need to use the Excise Tax Stamps on all their products and remove from their shelves those products that did not have the stamps.
Tax stamps are small stickers with security features, supplied by government to some manufacturers and importers to affix to their products before they are release onto the market. The stamps once fixed on a product provides significant guarantee that the products are authentic.
The companies visited include Melcom Avenor branch, Westhills Mall, Max Mart and GIHOC distilleries.
Mr Kwasi Bobie-Ansah, Assistant Commissioner, in charge of Public Affairs, said the exercise was to ensure compliance of the Excise Tax Stamp, saying their observation so far was that some of the retailers were doing selective compliance where some of the products have the stamps while others do not have.
He said what the GRA wanted was total compliance and therefore they had asked them to remove those products that did not have the stamps from their shelves until they were fixed.
He said this was a caution not only to retailers but also to manufacturers. “When we went to GIHOC there was total compliance so we commended the management, and we are appealing to all manufacturers of the excisable products to follow same”.
Mr Bobie-Ansah said “we saw that they have three tax affixing machines and we believe that other manufacturers can do the same.
“This particular exercise is a caution, and the next time we come round we are going to apply the law, as it should be applied and if the excisable products do not have the stumps we would remove them, and take them away.”
He noted that the tax stamps, which is a digital information also protects the products and brands of manufacturers form counterfeiting, as well as protect their businesses.
He also appealed to the public not to buy products that do not have the stamps.
Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, Chief Executive Officer of GIHOC, said GIHOC totally supported the efforts of the GRA in ensuring that taxes were paid, and have no problem paying taxes.
He said this would help make their work easy, because there were lots of people doing fake alcoholic beverages in the country without paying taxes and this, he said, would allow authorities to trace the fake ones in the market.
“In the past it was difficult to trace fake products, but now it is easy to identify fake products because all genuine products must have stumps”.
“Although there is a cost to installing the tax affixing machines, when you get back, the benefits far outweigh the cost, so all our products have the tax stamps.”
He encouraged manufacturers of beverages, bottled water, carbonated drinks, and cigarette to ensure to purchase the tax affixing machines themselves and ensure that all their products have the stamp before making it available onto the market.
Authorities at Melcom Avenor branch, Westhills Mall, Max Mart, have promised the GRA that they would ensure that the tax stamps were fixed on all the products as soon as possible.