The Tax Stamp Policy, which emanates from the Excise Stamp Act, 2013 (Act 873) requires that small stickers with security features supplied by government to some manufacturers and importers be affixed to products before they are released onto the market. This requires a special stamp affixing machine which costs several thousands of Ghana cedis to procure.
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Manufacturers and employees I spoke to told me that their productivity has been cut down by half due to problems with integration of the tax stamp into their high turnover lines.
“We used to produce over 20 pallets per shift but now 10 pallets is the highest we can do due to tax stamp. It’s either the machine isn’t fixing it properly and we have to do it manually or we’ve run out of stamps and have to halt production” an employee of a popular bottled water and beverage producing company told me.
From all indications government did not have wide consultations with the industries and technical people on the ground to agree on a better means of affixing the stamps which would enable the companies to maintain or increase their normal production speeds.
Some companies have started laying off contract staffs due to the decrease in production and if not addressed, massive redundancies will follow. The breweries, alcoholic, beverages and bottled water manufacturers are the most affected.
Some suggestions gathered was the use of unique QR codes generated by GRA for each company and integration of same onto labels which would require no extra equipment or slow down operations. This will also save GRA the cost of printing tax stamps.
In as much as it is laudable to generate tax from the activities of manufacturers and importers, it is also imperative that it is done in an efficient way taking into consideration the situation on the ground for smooth implementation. I would therefore urge government and GRA to address the situation with some urgency, failure of which may put many jobs at risk.