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Business News of Monday, 25 May 2015

Source: GNA

Businesses call for postponement of excise tax stamp

Mr John Awuni, a member of the Food and Beverage Association of Ghana has appealed to government to postpone the proposed implementation of the excise tax stamp scheduled to begin on June 2, this year.

He explained that although the tax is meant to step up government revenue and to curb the importation and smuggling of cheaper goods to unfairly compete with indigenous industries, the timing was financially improper.

Mr Awuni, who made this appeal during a stakeholder's meeting with the Ghana Revenue Authority in Accra to sensitize the business community on the implementation of the tax stamp, said energy challenges, coupled with exchange rate fluctuations had compelled businesses to downsize their working staff.

The tax stamp bill, which was passed into law on November 29, 2013, would among other things, affix tax stamps on excisable products imported or manufactured for consumption in Ghana.

The use of tax stamps and banderoles on selected excisable products is also expected to reduce the smuggling and influx of counterfeit products on the Ghanaian market.

Mr Awuni, who is also the Corporate Affairs Director of Finatrade Group of Companies, said just recently, the acquisition of photosantry certificates moved up from GHC1 to GHC 10.00, whilst Value Added Tax also moved from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent, and so the implementation of tax stamp would therefore be a serious burden on businesses.

He added that, the recent increment in the prices of petroleum products and utility tariffs coupled with its attendant high inflation rates could subsequently cripple businesses.

Mr Awuni said fees from regulatory agencies, such as Food and Drugs Authority and the Ghana Standards Authority among others, were also stifling businesses, and that, the suspension of the tax stamp would provide some respite to businesses to triumph.

"The high cost of doing business in Ghana has caused a significant reduction in demand for goods and services in the Ghanaian market," Mr Awuni added.