The General Secretary of the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana, Mr. Samuel Aggrey, says that the implementation of the Tax Stamp policy by the government would face serious challenges if not well implemented.
“If we want to introduce it, we should make it in such a way that it wouldn’t create any problems for us, and if we want to introduce it, we should do that with some few products and iron out their challenges before going to other products,” he said.
He said this during an inspection of the Tax Stamp machines at the Tema Port by officials of the Ministry of Finance, Ghana Revenue
Authority (GRA), the Association of Importers and Exporters, Food and Beverages Association, among others.
Mr. Aggrey informed that a wholesale approach would bring problems “which would be passed onto the consumers by the importers. It also means that those who cannot afford to pay for the stamp would not bring their products and that would mean destroying the industry.”
He observed that the January 2018 deadline for the commencement of the policy seemed a difficult task due to these problems, adding that “this is a process of government maximizing revenue collection, but is that the way to go?” adding, “Do we start and people start having crisis before we have to stop and reconsider. We should make sure it works, if we are not addressing the issues then we
don’t need it.”
He observed the duplicity of taxes in this regard by saying that “now even, after paying your excise duty on water, you have to pay your excise stamp on it. So if I am not being double taxed on one item, then I do not know what it is.”
He pleaded with Government not to burden the consumer because “as a business man I would have to pass anything you pass to me on to the consumer which becomes a problem.”
He informed of the cost in repackaging by saying “when you break the seal on the product for stamping; what becomes of the repacking. This means the product itself has been tampered with, and it’s going to be a big challenge.”
The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Mr. Samson Asaki, observed that delays in the fixing of the stamps could cause them to pay penalties at the port which would affect their business.
He wondered the number of days large quantities of goods would take before fixing tax stamps on all of them.
He pleaded with the Government to fix stamps at other locations so that in case of a choke with the Tema Tax Stamp site, they could be referred to other sites to avoid delays.
The Chairman of the Tax Stamp Implementation Committee, Mr. Sam Akwasi Yankyera, explained that “when people bring goods from outside the country, this is what would be used to determine that their goods came into the country through the right channel.”
He said through the stamp, one could also determine who brought the goods onto the market.”
He informed that a lot of things came onto the Ghanaian market through smuggling, with some products being of inferior quality.
He therefore said, “With the stamp on the product, it means you have paid tax and that it is a good product.”
He said the tax stamp would protect those who have genuine products on the market against those with counterfeit products, adding that “we have studied the situation and have realized the solution is to bring the stamp.”
According to him, the committee would determine as time goes on measures that could mitigate the challenges that might come with the implementation.
He hinted that, “This is not an attempt to impose anything on anybody. Everybody should take heart because it is not something to distract people’s work.”