GRA seizes goods without tax stamps …at the Central Business District of Accra

Mr. Kwabena Anto Apau (left) with one of his officers  checking  the products.

Mr. Kwabena Anto Apau (left) with one of his officers checking the products.

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) yesterday seized 544 packets of one-litre Lucozade energy drink from Kate Laryea Stores at the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra for selling the products with no tax stamps embossed on it.

 

About 41 cartons of special ice grapes drink, packets of cigarettes and some other affected products without the tax stamp were also seized from stores at Okaishie.

 

The exercise forms part of a two-week-long tax stamp monitoring and enforcement programme by the GRA to promote compliance to the tax stamp policy.

 

In an interview, Kwabena Antoh Apau, Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Excise Unit, said the seized products would be forfeited to the state if the owners failed to contact the authority after 30 days and face the accompanying penalties.

 

The resumption of the monitoring and enforcement programme, he said, was to assess the level of compliance since the introduction of the tax stamp policy.

 

He observed that, despite an upsurge in compliance by importers, manufacturers as well as traders, who display the products for sale, some intentionally made available for sale products without the tax stamps in order to avoid paying the required tax.

 

Mr Apau said the monitoring and enforcement team would first enquire of the entry point of imported products without the stamp and engage local manufacturers on why their products were not affixed with the tax stamp.

 

In addition to monitoring and enforcing the tax stamp policy, he said the team would also be checking whether or not the appropriate VAT invoices were being issued by the traders, adding that anyone suspected to be engaging in improper conduct would be pencilled immediately for auditing.

 

Mr Apau cautioned traders and consumers against purchasing products without the tax stamp, explaining that “if the product has a tax stamp, it then means it is genuine and poses no danger to your health and also gives to the state the needed revenue.”

 

Some of the inspected stores including Danbri Company Limited, distributor of tobacco and cigarettes, which was in compliance of the tax stamp policy, urged the GRA to engage the distributors and traders on compliance status before the enforcement exercise.

 

The Tax Stamp Policy, which emanates from the Excise Stamp Act, 2013 (Act 873), was implemented by government in October last year.

 

The tax stamps are small stickers with security features supplied by government to manufacturers and importers to be affixed to their products before they are released onto the market.

 

The presence of the tax stamps on a product provides enough guarantee of product authenticity.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

 

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