GRA OfficialsSome GRA officials inspecting alcoholic products

There was drama on the premises of Obibini Blackman Company Limited after workers of the company went into hiding when officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) stormed the place to assess their compliance with the Excise Tax Stamp Policy.

The officials observed that all the products of the alcoholic beverages company did not have the Tax Stamp affixed on them.

The company’s brands include Brukutu Ginger Gin, Manstrong Bitters, Buga Gin Bitters and ZET bottled water.

Workers of the company fled when the officials arrived at the company’s headquarters at Breman New site in Kumasi as part of its tour to ensure compliance with the Tax Stamp policy at selected facilities within the Ashanti Region.

However, in the other shops including Shoprite, Game, Ababio Express, Opoku Trading Company and Melcom, GRA officials met the workers whom they directed to remove products which do not have the Tax Stamps affixed on them, from their shelves.

Some products on the shelves of some of the shops had the tax stamps already attached to them.

Officials warned the management of the facilities they visited to comply with the directive or risk their goods being confiscated.

The GRA has insisted that the excise tax stamp must be affixed on specified excisable goods in Ghana whether they are locally manufactured or imported.

The excisable products include; cigarettes and other tobacco products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic carbonated beverages (bottles, canned or packaged in other forms), bottled water and other excisable products prescribed by the Minister of Finance.

The Technical Advisor to the Commissioner-General of the GRA, Sam Kwasi Yenkyira who spoke to journalists after the visit to the facilities, said there has been some compliance of the policy.

He indicated that the products at the Alcoholic beverages company, Obibini Blackman Company Limited whose staff bolted do not have the tax stamps on them.

“It would appear as if they have even run away. Which points to a deliberate attempt not to comply. What we are doing is that at least you are witnesses we are leaving a message here that the next time we come, the products which don’t have the stamps, we shall be compelled to detain or seize them in accordance with the law. All the products, the bottled water and the Brukutu Bitters are supposed to have the tax stamps affixed before they are delivered for consumption,” he warned.

He said the compliance level for the imported products were higher than the locally-made ones because checks at the ports have been intensified to ensure all the products coming in have the tax stamps on them.

Mr. Yenkyira called on managers of shops and other manufacturing companies to comply with the policy since all products without the tax stamps on them will be seized on their next visit to the facilities.

Excise Tax Stay here to stay

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Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Kofi Nti has warned domestic manufacturers who are refusing to comply with the policy to revise their attitudes since “the Excise Tax Stamp Policy has come to stay”.

He cautioned wholesalers, distributors and retailers of the affected excisable products to refrain from purchasing the products from manufacturers and importers who have refused to affix the stamps.

He also advised consumers to stop purchasing products that do not have the stamps.

The Commissioner-General wants consumers to adopt the slogan “NO TAX STAMP, NO PURCHASE.”

Mr. Nti further indicated that the policy has enormous benefits to the consuming public especially towards protecting their health and helping them to differentiate between genuine products and fake ones.

“The first phase of the enforcement of compliance exercise focused on the removal of goods without the stamp from shelves. I, however, wish, o warn that in the second phase there will be seizure of such products and the imposition of the required penalties. The penalties include the imposition of a 300% penalty on the duties and taxes involved and imprisonment to a term of five years or both”, he stressed.

He maintained that the GRA will continue public education on the policy and also called on the media to ensure the consumption of excisable products.