Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo,
The Honorable Minister of Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta,
The Honorable Deputy Minister of Finance Kwaku Kwarteng,
Ministry of Finance Director Tony Dzadra,
Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority Emmanual Kofi Nti,
Members of the media,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning and thanks for your welcome. It is wonderful to be here to join you in launching the Excise Stamp Tax Policy. One of the United States’ highest priorities in Ghana, which we share with you, is to promote American investments that create jobs and generate income for Ghanaian families, while at the same time serving Ghanaian, American, and international consumers. Today’s launch of the Excise Tax Stamp Policy is significant because it signals a commitment by Ghana to better serve consumers and citizens in partnership with Authentix, an American company whose stated mission is to manufacture and provide brand protection, product authentication, supply chain security, excise tax recovery, banknote authentication, and fitness solutions to national governments, Fortune 500 companies, and central banks worldwide.
Based in Addison, Texas, Authentix is committed to fighting illicit trade with trusted authentication and information services. In addition to its global headquarters in Addison, Authentix also has offices here in Accra, Ghana; York, England; Sandton, South Africa; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Authentix works closely with Central Banks, Global 1000 companies, and revenue agencies to protect their banknotes and products and support the efficient collection of excise taxes. Here in Ghana, Authentix has a tested program with several local partners.
In 2012, Authentix was awarded a contract by the Government of Ghana for the implementation and management of a revenue-generating excise tax program for tobacco, wine, beer, spirits, soda, and bottled water. Authentix completed its implementation in December 2015 and opened an office and secure warehouse facility in Accra.
The Honorable Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority Emmanual Kofi Nti recently stated their intent to fully launch the program, and thanks to them and others, we are here today marking this occasion.
The Excise Tax Stamp Policy program is focused on efficiently collecting taxes to support government programs; protect the citizens from harmful contraband; and create a level playing field for compliant manufacturers.
Although the program is referred to as an excise tax program, it also serves to protect customs duties and VAT revenues.
I understand that the Ministry of Finance has informed tobacco companies and beverage manufacturers that the program will launch today, August 31, and that all new products entering the market will need to be stamped as of January 1 or March 1, 2018, depending on the product.
I would like to especially commend Authentix for its commitment to social responsibility programs in Ghana. In addition to helping our government clients collect taxes and protect citizens from harmful products, Authentix also feels strongly about giving back to the countries where it operates, thereby establishing mutually beneficial programs. In 2016, as part of its “Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative,” Authentix established a computer laboratory at the Kongo Senior High School in the Upper East Region.
There are costs to not addressing the issues which Authentix, in collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority, is working to resolve. For example, the estimated 30 percent rate of fraud means that approximately $50 million or GH¢ 216 million is going uncollected each year.
Each day that the program launch is delayed, Ghana loses $136,118 (or GH¢ 592,114) in unrecoverable revenue in products alone. By using a single platform for all consumer products subjected to excise taxes and taking enforcement action on the use of unmarked or illegitimate tax stamps, governments and product manufacturers can benefit from:
- Increasing tax collections without raising tax rates;
- Deterring smuggling and illicit activity (In fact, some claim that strong multi-layered programs can reduce counterfeiting attempts by a third.);
- Creating a level playing field for all legitimate enterprises in the country;
- Providing increased visibility into the overall supply chain – see where the vulnerabilities are and work to strengthen the gaps;
- Simplifying the tax stamp program for all stakeholders; and
- Good governance credibility and public health improvements from eliminating illicit, harmful goods from the country.
In closing, I once again congratulate the Government of Ghana and the Ghana Revenue Authority for launching this Excise Tax Stamp Policy to implement transparent mechanisms to safeguard and protect consumers in Ghana, as well as the taxpayers of this nation.