Importers of beverage products say the Tax Stamp Affixing Station at Tema is still inefficient, three years after the introduction of the tax stamp policy.

This the say is costing them demurrage and losses running into several thousands of cedis.

A visit to the station by Joy Business where tax stamps were affixed on imported beverages showed a laborious process – a situation the Food and Beverage Association described as threatening to beverage companies across the country.

“We were expecting things to improve as the years go by, but here we are facing this congestion. Various cartons of beverages would all have to pass through these slow affixing machines. You can imagine the delay,” Samuel Aggrey, Executive Secretary of the association told Joy Business.

According to him, the congestion at the site of tax affixing has resulted in high demurrage, adding,  the costs from this demurrage will be passed on to the consumer.

“The cost of production has naturally shot up in this era of Covid-19. We can’t afford another burden which is of no fault of us – just unfair”.

“Initially, we had requested digital stamping for industry which was easier. As it is now, we are being told the stamp itself is not being compliant with the machines they have now. If that is anything to go by, the machines will have to be changed”, Mr. Aggrey lamented.

So far, agents of the GRA say plans are far advanced for the establishment of complementary services across the country. For the Beverage Association, time is of the essence; the more their products wait in line, the more cost accrues.

The Excise Tax Stamp Act is definitely not an introduction of a new tax. It rather requires Excise Tax Stamps with traceable and security-enhanced features on specified excisable commodities in order to serve as preliminary evidence of the payment of the required duties and taxes and to provide an audit trail for tracing importers and manufacturers of counterfeited goods.

Excisable products expected to be affixed with the stamps include cigarette and other tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic and carbonated beverages, bottled water, textiles and other goods determined by the Minister of Finance.