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GRA Storms Melcom, Shoprite Et Al Over Tax Stamp Policy

The Ghana Revenue Authority has ordered and supervised the removal of excisable products without tax stamps from the shelves of Melcom, Shoprite, MaxMart and other shops in Accra.

Manufacturers and importers of excisable products are required by law to fix hologram stamps on their products before they are sold to consumers, a directive detailed in the Excise Tax Stamp Act 2013 (Act 873).

In order to ensure compliance of the tax stamp policy, which was implemented March 1, the Authority on Wednesday embarked on  an unannounced swoop on some shops in the capital to inspect and clear their shelves of excisable products without tax stamps.

www.3news.com‘s Nuong Faalong, who was with GRA officials throughout the swoop, reported that the first port of call for the team was the Industrial Area Branch of Melcom.

She said Melcom staff there were made to remove from their shelves all products that did not have the stamps.

The next stop was GIHOC Distilleries, also in the Area. Authorities of the company were said to have got a tip-off before the GRA officials got to their premises.

There were, therefore, no unstamped products on display when the team got there.

Chief Executive Officer GIHOC Distilleries Maxwell Kofi Jumah used the opportunity to take the GRA team around, showing them their tax stamp machine and how it works.

He  acknowledged that acquiring the tax stamp machine was costly but said it is rewarding to have one.

“The point is there is a cost to [acquiring a tax fixing machine] but what we get back in terms of benefits far outweighs the cost and indeed I have ordered that we buy more,” he said.

The team proceeded to the West Hills Mall, where it supervised the removal of excisable products from the shelves of Shoprite.

The 37 Military Hospital branch of MaxMart and Bacchus also suffered the same fate as Shoprite and Melcom.  There was, however, some resistance from the MaxMart staff.

Head of Communication and Public Affairs of the GRA Bobie Ansah warned that shops that fail to comply with the policy will have all their unstamped excisable products seized on their next visit.

He also advised the general public not to buy products without tax stamps embossed on them.

Asked how the GRA will ensure compliance by smaller shops, Mr Ansah said some staff of the GRA have been strategically trained for that and they will start work soon.

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