The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Tuesday launched a mobile application dubbed the ‘Ghana Tax Stamp Authenticator’, which helps consumers to detect the genuineness of products sold in retail shops.
The application allows consumers to scan and validate the excise tax stamps affixed on excisable products, such as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti, the Commissioner-General of GRA, speaking at the application’s launch in Accra said the Excise Tax Stamp Act, 2013 (Act 873) requires that excise tax stamps shall be affixed on specified excisable products manufactured in Ghana or imported into the country.
However, implementation of the Excise Tax Stamp policy started on January 1, 2018, with enforcement at the country’s points of entry, while point of sale enforcement started on March 1, 2018.
Mr. Nti said the importance of the tax stamp policy is that it enables the Authority to monitor the exact quantities declared by manufacturers and importers for tax purposes.
He explained that genuineness of the tax stamp is of prime importance to the Authority, stressing that the production of any fake tax stamp would defeat the purpose of the policy.
The Commissioner-General said to help GRA detect the genuineness of the stamp, the Authority came up with a device – the Bar Code Scanner – at the beginning of the policy’s enforcement, but the gadgets were only used by the staff of the Authority.
He said the Authority developed the application to ensure the device’s monitoring process was simplified and made easily available to the general public.
Mr. Kwabena Apau Awua Anto, the Chief Revenue Officer in charge of Excise Unit at GRA, explaining the installation process said the public or consumer needs to have an android phone, visit the Play Store on the phone menu, search for Ghana Tax Stamp Authenticator and install the application.
Touching on the scanning procedure, Mr. Anto said the public will need to tap the Ghana Tax Stamp Authenticator logo on the phone for the splash screen to appear and tap the ‘start’ to begin the scanning process.
He said after that, the mobile camera will turn ‘on’ the scanner mode automatically for the consumer to point the mobile camera exactly over the tax stamp affixed on the product.
He said after scanning the tax stamp code affixed on the product, it displays the required product information on the android phone – that is. whether the product has a valid or invalid stamp code.
Mr. Anto said the successful scan result displays the product type, product origin HR code, organization name and metric name with the ‘ok’ button.
He urged consumers to compare the information on their phones with the scanned product to ensure they are the same and appealed to the public to report any differences between the scanned results and scanned products to the GRA for action to be taken.