He said the implementation of the tax stamps policy was not an imposition of additional tax by government but a measure to protect genuine businesses from counterfeiters and also to ensure that more people and businesses pay their due taxes.

These stamps are small stickers with security features, supplied by government to some manufacturers and importers and to be affixed to their products before they are released onto the market, to provide significant guarantee and the authenticity of products.

In line with the Excise Tax Act, 2013, government would begin implementation with Tobacco, Alcoholic and non-Alcoholic drinks, bottled water and textiles when the policy takes-off in January 2018.

At the launch of the Tax Stamp Policy by the Minister of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, on August 31st, 2017 said,
“Once the tax stamp policy has been adequately rolled out, government will lead the campaign to remind consumers that patronage of products that ought to have tax stamps but do not have tax stamps is unsafe and that consumers do so at their own risk.”

According to him, when the enforcement of the tax stamp policy starts, products that are required to carry the stamps but do not do so, would be removed from the market and the appropriate sanctions would be imposed on all offenders.

“Government would continue to work closely with traders and manufacturers from now to the close of the year to finalise arrangement for the affixing of the stamps by businesses that are required to do so,” The finance Minister noted.

Adding that, the Exercise Tax Stamp Act, requires businesses to bear the cost of the stamps, it gives freedom to government to subsidise the cost, government would from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018, bear the entire cost of the stamps supplied to businesses.

Also, between June and the close of the year 2018, government will still bear half the cost of the stamps.

Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority said the implementation of the excise tax stamp policy seeks to control the importation and local production of excisable goods for revenue purposes, check under-declaration of goods and check illicit trading, smuggling and counterfeiting of excisable products.

He said the tax stamp is not an introduction of a new tax, but rather, a new way of administering the already existing excise tax.

Mr. Emmanuel Nti said, the Stamp would enable the GRA to effectively monitor the payment of Excise Tax to ensure that the correct quantum of tax is paid, adding that, the GRA would between now and the ends of the year mount an intensive public education on the implementation of the policy.

He urged local manufacturers and importers of excisable products to register with the GRA to enable them to obtain the stamp.

To ensure a smooth transition, Mr Nti said importers, wholsalers and retailers would need to clear the stocks of excisable goods without the stamp before the effective date of implementation.

Adding that, persons who display, sell or distribute excise goods without a stamp at the end of the transitional period would be punished according to the law with a fine not exceeding 300 per cent of the duties and taxes involved or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or both.

Mr. Robert Jackson, the US Ambassador to Ghana, said the implementation of the stamp policy would go a long way to protect consumers from the negative consequences of the consumption of counterfeit products and also help stem the tide of smuggling.

By:Sammy Adjei/Newsghana.com.gh