Tax Stamp Policy: Shippers’ Authority ready to partner GRA on Public Education

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The Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) says it is ready to partner with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to intensify education and sensitization of the trading public on the new Tax Stamp Policy that has been introduced by the government.

To this effect the Authority has established Shipper Committees across all ten regions of Ghana to ensure that the education on the policy goes down to all stakeholders.

Comprising mainly of importers and exporters among other key industry actors the Committee also has the responsibility of ensuring that the concerns of shippers and manufacturers on the policy are competently addressed.

Addressing journalists in Accra on Wednesday on the Shipping Quarter and Outlook for 2018, Chief Executive Officer of the GSA, Ms. Benonita Bismarck, said the Ghana Shippers Authority is committed to educating shippers on the dos and don’ts of the clearance process for an improved system.

“Education would also continue on the need for shippers to begin their documentation processes for Cargo clearance prior to the arrival of their cargo so as to reduce demurrage and rent payments. These are avoidable costs that can inure immensely to the benefit of shippers if they start the process early,” she stated.

Tax stamps are small stickers with security features, supplied by government to some manufacturers and importers to be affixed to their products before they are released onto the market.

These stamps once they are seen on a product provide significant guarantee that the products are authentic.

The government launched the policy in August 2017 as part of its efforts to address the counterfeiting of products on the Ghanaian market and to improve revenue generation in the country.

The objective of the policy is to among others improve on the efficiency of tax administration, especially excise duty in Ghana. The policy affects exercisable products and is targeted at all cigarettes and other tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, bottled water, and any other excisable product prescribed by the Minister of Finance.

At the launch of the policy, Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori Atta noted that the implementation of the policy which started in January 2018 though not an imposition of additional tax by government is a measure to protect genuine businesses from counterfeiters and ensuring that more people and businesses pay their due taxes.

The implementation of the policy was however met with fierce resistance from some business interest groups including the Institute of Freight Forwarders and some local manufacturers and importers.

A member of the Technical Committee of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, John Mantey told journalists then that the implementation of the tax stamp policy will further compound the already burdened clearing process at the ports.

Some manufacturers threatened to withdraw their products from the market over the Tax Stamp Policy.

But the Ms Bismarck and the Authority are of the view that effective education will make the trading public appreciate the need for the policy.

The Shipping Quarter and Outlook has been instituted by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority as an industry-wide platform for engaging the media, and to provide timely, authentic and accurate information on the Shipping Industry.

The first edition for 2018 focused on Ghana’s Trade Performance in 2017, developments in the shipping sector in Ghana and globally, some Trade Facilitation Issues and prospects and outlook for 2018 and beyond.

Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson ||




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