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The government is currently working on introducing what has been described as “Sin Tax” as a way of raising revenue to support the national economy, in particular the health sector, ghananewsonline.com.gh has reliably gathered.
A sin tax is an excise levy that is placed on products or goods and services perceived harmful to the society. Example include levies on alcohol and tobacco, sweeties, hard drugs, soft drinks, fast foods, coffee, sugar, gambling and pornography, among others.
Such taxes are often levied by governments to discourage individuals from partaking in such activities without making the use of the products illegal.
The move by the government is part of a new agenda towards the implementation of a curative health policies rather than preventive health.
A deputy Minister for Health, Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, revealed this last week when he met with some members of the Coalition of NGOs in Tobacco Control (CNTC) – a civil society platform on Tobacco Control and Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Ghana.
The meeting which was at the behest of the Coalition discussed a communique that was produced during a one day High-Level Roundtable Meeting on Tobacco and Sustainable Development in Ghana held recently in Accra.
Briefing the deputy Minister, head of delegation, Issah Ali, who is also the Executive Director of Vision for Development (VALD), highlighted the outcomes of the High-Level meeting and the actions that are expected of the government so as to ensure that people are protected from the harmful effects of tobacco.
Among the seven point communique that was developed from the meeting, the group is demanding that the government prioritizes tobacco control and combat the tobacco epidemic in the country in order to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); strengthen national tobacco control and NCD policies, legislations and resources in addition to reorienting health systems to address the prevention of NCDs and incorporate tobacco control into all existing levels of government.
They also demanded of the government to step up efforts to increase tobacco taxes in accordance with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as it has been proven to be the most direct and effective strategy to reduce tobacco use and can also provide sustainable domestic funding for tobacco control.
They further call for support mechanisms to educate and offer treatment support and cessation services, mobilize and allocate resources for tobacco control implementation; strengthen mechanisms for monitoring and countering tobacco industry interference; and promote partnerships to invest in building the capacity of different stakeholders to advocate, support and monitor progress on tobacco control as part of the SDGs implementation efforts.
“We plead with your office to ensure that the International Tobacco Protocol (ITP) which allows for the tracking of the movement of tobacco is facilitated to Parliament for quick ratification as it is going against Ghana’s international compliance record. We also want you to ensure the implementation of the ban on tobacco sale around schools and educational institutions. It is also our wish that the ministry will intensify restriction on alcohol advertising between 5am and 9pm everyday using a fiat,” Ali stated.
In responds to the demands of the Coalition the deputy Minister promised to discuss the issue with higher authority. He said the government is looking out for avenues to raise revenues and that the introduction of the Sin Tax has come up strongly for consideration in other discussions and that it is indeed under consideration. “This will enable us raise some money to support the cause,” he stated.