March 21, 2019

Koforidua shop owners criticize GRA over tax stamp enforcement

Koforidua shop owners criticize GRA over tax stamp enforcement

Shop owners in the New Juaben Municipality of the Eastern Region have condemned the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for embarking on a tax stamp enforcement exercise without prior notice.

On Tuesday, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) began to seize goods and items without the approved tax stamps embossed on them in the Greater Accra Region.

The exercise which was replicated on Wednesday in the Eastern Regional capital Koforidua, saw dozens of items including boxes of bottled water, soft and hard drinks seized in the process.

The situation angered many shop owners and onlookers.

The enforcement exercise began at about 10am where the team first stormed the C&J shop close to the Wesley Methodist church at Betom and all their subsidiary shops in town.

The team then moved down to a subsidiary shop also owned by C&J at the Koforidua laundry.

The shop attendant who gave her name as Portia criticized the GRA for not giving them ample time to sell off items without the tax stamps.

“On Monday some officers came here to inform us about the exercise, I indicated to them that we have in stock some old items we bought without the stamps so they should allow us sell them off first but here they are today ransacking our shop. We bought the items with money and we cannot run a loss because of them. I am not happy at all”.

Managers of Melcom Ghana were however lucky when the team made a stop at their shop.

After a brief inspection, the team commended authorities of Melcom for ensuring best practices.

Other shop owners became alarmed about the turn of events with onlookers asking questions when the team made a stop at the popular Koforidua taxi rank where a cluster of provision shops were lined up.

Shop owners who spoke to Citi News during the exercise condemned the authority for failing to inform them ahead of the exercise.

“No one has been here to alert or inform me about today’s enforcement exercise and I do not even know the stamps they are talking about. It is only today that they showed me the stamps on the products and why I should have them so it is unfair to just show up here at my shop and start seizing my goods” a shop owner lamented.

Emmanuel Nyedu a provision shop owner at the Koforidua tax rank in an interview called on the GRA to first task producers to ensure the needful is done for an effective and efficient exercise.

“We are against GRA for seizing our goods and we are not happy about it because we are not producers, we do not produce the items. The responsibility lies with GRA to enforce them to put the stamps on the products at the manufacturing centers even before the products come onto the market. If they want this exercise to be effective and efficient then they should go and be on the producers to ensure the right things are done”.

The team also chanced on some shop owners with bundles of tax stamps.

Theophilus Prince Tetteh, a tax enforcement officer at the head office who addressed the media after the exercise disclosed that further sanctions will be taken against retailers who buy items without tax stamps.

“This exercise is taking place in all regions with the aim of ensuring that retailers do not buy items which do not have our tax stamps on them. Wewe are asking retailers to call or inform us and we will come and fix the tax stamps for them depending on the weight and quantity you require. The producers have to ensure that all their products have the stamps and we have also told the retailers not to accept products without the stamps so now that they have those items the law mandates us to seize them”.

He added, “there are some sanctions prescribed by the law that we are going to apply to all defaulters, and one of such is the seizure of the products which we have done today, the grace period we gave them is far overdue so going forward, all sanctions will be applied.”

By: Neil Nii Amatey Kanarku | | Ghana

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