Several months after the implementation of the Excise Tax Stamp Act 2013 (Act 873), many of the specified excisable products are still being sold on the market without the required stamps.
This came to light when members of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) stormed some wholesale and retail shops and marts in Cape Coast and its environs on Tuesday morning as they seek to ensure full compliance of the Act.
The Excise Tax Stamp Act 2013 (Act 873) requires that Excise Tax Stamp be affixed on specified excisable goods, either manufactured in the country or imported and others prescribed by the Minister.
Some of the excisable goods on which the excise tax are to be affixed include Cigarettes and other tobacco products, alcoholic beverages whether bottled, canned, in kegs for sale or packaged in any other form, and non-alcoholic carbonated beverages whether bottled, canned or packaged in other form.
However, most of the wholesale and retail shops in Cape Coast that the GRA visited did not have the stamp affixed on many of the specified excisable goods that they sold.
The retail shops visited included, Ayefor Enterprise, Sonturk Supermarket, New Horizon Mart among others.
Some of the retailers explained that the products without the stamps were old stock, while others maintained that they had requested for the stamps, but were yet to be supplied. However, their explanations did not stop the GRA from taking samples of the products without the stamps from their shops.
They were advised to affix the stamps on the products or upon the next inspection by the GRA, they would be seized.
Mrs Gladys Adorkor, Senior Revenue Officer at Special Taskforce and Excise Unit of the GRA, said defaulters of the directive would pay 300 per cent of duties and taxes of goods sold.
She said when the Act assumed full implementation in January 2018, local manufacturers and importers were given three months grace period to enable them label their products and to clear old products from the market.
She stressed that the commitment of the GRA to enforce the law and urged importers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and the general public to comply with the law accordingly.
She said the GRA would continue to embark on intense public education on the role of stakeholders in the implementation of the Act and to get the public to understand its importance to the development of the nation.
Mrs Eno Frimpomaa Adu, a Senior Revenue Officer at the Excise Tax Unit, explained that the implementation of the Act would help deal with the challenge of counterfeit products on the market and as well generate the required revenue for Government to develop the nation.
Some of the retailers appealed to the GRA to give them up to the end of the year to clear their old stock from the market.
Others also expressed dissatisfaction about the whole process and said it needed to be decentralised to speed up the process to ensure that requested stamps were supplied on time.