GRA detains unstamped products in factories and shops

Emmanuel Kofi Nti, GRA Boss

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Tuesday embarked on the final phase of enforcement of the excise tax stamp policy initiated by the Government and has detained products of affected companies and shops.

During the exercise, products, which had no tax stamp affixed on them were impounded at the Achimota Mall branch of Shoprite.

Some of the products seized included bottled water (Voltic Mineral Water and Special Ice), carbonated drinks (Fanta, Coca Cola, and Sprite), alcoholic beverages, energy drinks among others.

The GRA Team also prevented products of BSC Beverages Ghana Limited, the producers and distributors of Pepsi and its associated carbonated drinks, from being sent to the market until they had been duly stamped.

The Team also prevented products of the Accra Brewery Limited (ABL), from going out of the production centre because they were not stamped with the excise tax stamp.

At ABL, the management withheld the Team of GRA from entering the premises to ascertain whether or not the products had been duly stamped but later engaged the leadership of the GRA Team in a closed-door meeting.

Prior to the closed door meeting, Mr Philip Redman, the ABL Country Director for Ghana, said the company was not making any statement on the situation but would in due time issue a statement to that effect.

After the meeting, Mr Seth Dwira, the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations at Customs Division of GRA, told the media that the company had pleaded with the Authority to commence stamping with the excise tax stamp from December, this year.

Mr Dwira said, however, the Authority was unwilling to compromise on enforcing the policy because it was important for every company to comply with the Authority’s directive to raise more revenue to finance state projects.

At BSC Beverages Ghana Limited, more than 40 trucks loaded with unstamped carbonated drinks were ready for the market when the GRA officials stopped them.

The management of BSC Beverages Ghana Limited declined comments on the situation.

Meanwhile, at GIHOC Distilleries, the situation was different as they had complied with Government’s directives and embossed all products with the excise tax stamp.

Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, the Managing Director of GIHOC Distilleries, urged all companies to comply with the policy to assist the Government.

Mr Kwabena Apau Anto, the Chief Revenue Officer at GRA and the Head of Excise Unit, commended the GIHOC Distilleries  for complying with the policy and assisting Government to generate more revenue to implement outstanding projects.

In a media briefing after the day’s exercise, Mr Apau Anto said the Authority had created all the needed suitable condition for stakeholders to comply with the directives but some remained unconcerned.

He said the products that had been detained would attract a penalty of up to 300 per cent, adding that any product without the excise tax stamp was not leaving the various factories.

He said the officers of the GRA would be stationed at the various factories for 24 hours to ensure that no product left the factories to the market until compliance was achieved.

Mr Apau Anto said the policy was very significant because it would protect their products from being counterfeited, protect the health of consumers and it would also help to generate more revenue for government.

He urged the public to always look out for products with the excise tax stamp and desist from patronising products without the stamp to both protect their health and help Government to raise more revenue for developmental projects.

Source: GNA

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