The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has described as “impressive” the level of Excise Tax Stamp compliance by retailers in the Upper East Region.
It said about 95 percent of the products in the shops of retailers in the region had the Excise Tax Stamp affixed on them and the traders were steadily complying with the provisions of the act.
Mr James Cudjoe, Senior Revenue Officer with Excise Unit of the GRA disclosed this to the media in Bolgatanga after an Excise Tax Stamp compliance enforcement exercise in the region.
The Excise Tax Stamp is specifically designed with digital and other security features, which is supposed to be affixed on specified excisable products produced locally or imported to provide enough guarantee of product authenticity as well as show that taxes and duties have been paid or will be paid.
The Tax Stamp Policy, which emanates from the Excise Stamp Act passed by Parliament in 2013, Act 873 prescribes that all alcoholic and non alcoholic carbonated beverages, bottled water, cigarettes and other tobacco products were embossed with the Tax Stamp before being released onto the market or sold to the customers.
The nationwide activity is therefore part of efforts instituted by the revenue mobilization institution through the Ministry of Finance to ensure that all distributors, wholesalers and retailers complied with the Excise Tax Stamp policy and have the tax stamp affixed on their products.
This is to control the importation and local production of excisable goods for revenue purposes, check the illicit trading, smuggling and counterfeiting of excisable products, check under-declaration of goods, and protect and increase revenue mobilization for national development.
To ensure this, an ultimatum of six months was given to all distributers, wholesalers and retailers, which started on March 1, 2018, to have the Tax Stamp affixed on their products and about three months ago, the GRA carried out an education and warning exercise nationwide.
Mr Cudjoe who led the Upper East Special Revenue Mobilization Task Force inspected retail stores including Lesken Enterprise Limited, Club Depot, Abrantie Annex, MyHill Limited among others in the region and discovered that almost all of their products were affixed with the excise tax stamp.
He revealed that the compliance was especially high at the interiors including Bawku, Navrongo and their environs and the retailers were very cooperative.
He however disclosed that a few products without the tax stamp were seized and said the traders explained that they had either only displayed them without selling or the products were part of bulk of stock in which the manufacturers did some selective affixing of the stamp.
The Senior Revenue Officer said the move was not to harass the traders, but it was to ensure that every excisable product consumed in the country was accounted for to enable the country to mobilized enough revenue to finance development projects.
Mr Cudjoe therefore admonished all retailers who had their products confiscated to within 30 days petition the Commissioner of the GRA to explain why their products did not have the tax stamp.
The Senior Revenue Officer warned retailers to desist from accepting goods from the distributers that do not have the excise tax stamp affixed on them and urged members of the public not to patronize excisable products which do not have the stamp.