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Business News of Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Source: GNA

Director calls for postponement of tax stamp

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

The Tax Stamp Bill was passed into law on 29th November 2013, therefore, the Government intends to among other things, affix tax stamps on excisable products imported or manufactured for consumption in Ghana.

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

However, Mr Awuni explained that although the intentions were noble the timing was financially improper.

He explained that the energy challenges, coupled with exchange rate fluctuations had compelled businesses to downsize their working staff.

Mr Awuni made the appeal during a stakeholders’ meeting with the Ghana Revenue Authority in Accra to sensitize the business community on the implementation of the tax stamp.

The meeting was also attended by members of Food and Beverages Association of Ghana, Ghana Union of Traders Associations among other importers and manufacturers.

Mr Awuni, who is also the Corporate Affairs Director of Finatrade Group of Companies, said recently the fee for the acquisition of phytosanitary certificates was increased from one Ghana Cedi to GH¢ 10.00.

He said the Valued Added Tax had also moved from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent and the implementation of tax stamp would, therefore, be a serious burden on businesses.

He explained that the recent increment in the prices of petroleum products and utility tariffs had also increased with high inflation rates that could, subsequently, cripple businesses.

Mr Awuni said fees from regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drugs Authority and the Ghana Standards Authority, among others, were also stifling businesses and 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 the demand for goods and services in the Ghanaian market," Mr Awuni stated.

He, however, acknowledged tax was meant to increase the Government’s revenue and to curb the importation and smuggling of cheaper goods to unfairly compete with indigenous industries.