The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced that from October 1, 2023 it will commence enforcement of tax stamps on new products and textile products at all entry points.
It added that October 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023 is the transitional period – meaning that all products currently on the market like sweetened beverages that did not previously require the tax stamp will be stamped.
“GRA is calling on all people who are holding stocks of these products to approach the nearest GRA office and apply for stamps to be affixed to their stocks,” Head of Excise at GRA, Kwabena Apau Awua, told the B&FT.
He spoke on the side-lines of a Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) platform in Tema as part of GRA’s efforts to sensitise clients in the port community in respect of the implementation and compliance with excise tax stamps.
He said new products coming from outside the country that did not hitherto attract the tax stamp will be stamped on the aforementioned date.
“The textile tax stamp is a special stamp that will be affixed to all textile products to indicate the product is compliant – all duties and taxes have been paid on those products. From October 1, we are going to start enforcement at entry points,” he said.
“And so, all dealers of textile products holding stocks must approach the nearest GRA offices and then request for the requisite tax stamps to be affixed to them,” he added.
He said the GRA has already made available fixing facilities at entry points in order to ensure a smooth process.
In all, about 28 representatives from various trade and professional associations were taken through the process.
He said the education and sensitisation of their clients is still ongoing by GRA officials, adding that during the transitional period they are not going to confiscate or seize any products but rather give people opportunity to comply.
Mr. Anto revealed the programme when fully implemented by January 1, 2024 will rake in GH¢450million additional revenue.
He explained that the imposition of excise duty on some of these products, such as tobacco and spirits, saw a fifty percent increase of excise duties and are for health purposes.
“You know the harmful effects of consuming cigarettes and even spirits, how they affect the individual consumer.
“Increasing these duties on local gins and spirits is to drastically reduce consumption and improve the health conditions of individuals. For instance, if you are previously taking so many sticks of cigarette but due to the increases a consumer may be able to take only one or two, that will reduce health risks associated with the intake of cigarettes,” Mr. Anto hinted.
“So, it is not only about revenue but also targetted at improving the health of consumers because it is aimed at curtailing the harmful effects of these products and thereby improve the health of citizens; and also reduce the expenditure of government on these diseases,” he said.
Mr. Anto is optimistic the excise duty law Act 2023, Act 1093, which was passed in March this year, is for the good of all.
“I think it is a win-win situation that even if we don’t get the required revenue, it will help reduce expenses we incur in taking care of those people who eventually fall sick from taking those products – and we have to put up hospitals and import drugs to take care of them,” he said.
Sector Commander of the Tema Collection Unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Customs Division, Tema, Assistant Commissioner Christiana Odi Adjei, explained the rationale behind the creation of a Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) to interact and identify challenges stakeholders face in their daily operations.
She said these challenges are then addressed by the appropriate institutions to enhance the turnaround around time of port clearances, and also promote a cordial working relationship among the agencies.
“JCCC is of priority to GRA, especially the Customs Division, in a time like this when our country is relying on us to help move our economy to its expected point. The periodic engagement by this very August committee will improve the Customs clearance processes and products, especially the joint examination of goods, and promote swift and cost-effective clearance of goods at the port,” AC Adjei said.