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AGI angered with GRA style of enforcing tax stamp

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Ghana Revenue Authority has been ordered by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) to move its task force from the premises of its beverage manufacturers to stop the disruption in business operations.

Dr Yaw Adu Gyamfi, President of the AGI, at a press conference last week register their disappointment on the activities of the Task force, and said the operations were being done without recourse to the tax stamp implementation arrangements and progress updates that the beverage manufacturers have given the GRA and Ministry of Finance.

The GRA task force in a bid to enforce the excise tax stamp policy, last week stormed the premises of some beverage manufacturers unannounced, restricting the movement of products from factory to sales outlets.

“By this recent action, the companies have already suffered revenue losses and a dent on reputation of their brands,” Dr Gyamfi said.

He said discussions between AGI, the Ministry of Finance and GRA on the implementation of the tax stamp has travelled a long haul on account of the technical challenges and “ we sincerely appreciate government’s cooperation and openness to dialogue along this journey”.

However, this action by the task force including the misleading reports on the tax stamp compliance does not put the law abiding companies in any good light.

Dr Gyamfi said AGI was not against the Tax Stamp policy, adding that the beverage companies are fully compliant with the excise law and in addition the GRA tax officials are also stationed on their premises to ensure compliance.

He said the current action would not necessarily increase revenue from the beverage manufacturers but rather risk experiencing a reduction in revenue as production efficiencies is negatively impacted due to the application of the stamp.

AGI and its members have extensively engaged government on the Tax Stamp Act and put forward alternative lower cost digital solutions that are widely used in other industries for this type of monitoring.

However, following the final decision to implement the paper stamp, the companies have taken all necessary steps that will lead to full compliance including ordering of tax stamp applicator equipment, the Purchase Orders, some of which have been shared with Government to demonstrate their commitment.

Some companies are already conducting test runs of their new applicator on production lines.

Dr Gyamfi, therefore, appealed to Government not to shut its doors for further dialogue but rather provide the dispensation for companies to continue to do business based on the evidence submitted, showing how they will be fully compliant by the end of this year.

He said the fiscal policies that Government implements must be business-friendly enough to motivate compliance and bolster the growth of the Ghanaian economy for job opportunities.

“To this end the implementation of the Tax Stamp must not stifle the operations of any business that demonstrates compliance. It must be a win-win situation for all parties,” he added.  

Also, the AGI has warned that over a thousand people in the beverages industry in Ghana could lose their jobs if the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) fails to remove compliance officers from the factories of its members and engage in further dialogue in relation to the tax stamp policy.

Dr. Adu-Gyamfihas noted with concern the restrictions on the operations of its beverage manufacturers by the GRA without recourse to the tax stamp implementation arrangements.

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) confiscated some trucks fully loaded with products of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Ghana Limited at Spintex, Accra.

This occurred last week, as the GRA embarked on the second phase of its nationwide compliance enforcement of the excise tax stamp law in accordance with the Tax Stamp Act, 2013, Act 873.

A team of compliance officers from the GRA, who visited some selected factories with journalists, discovered that the products, which were to be conveyed to retail shops, had no tax stamps.

The trucks were, grounded and prevented from doing their distribution rounds.

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