VALD Ghana holds sensitization workshop on the implementation progress of the Excise Duty Amendment Act 2023
In an effort to promote public health and tackle the rising burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Ghana, the Vision for Alternative Development (VALD Ghana) in collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority Customs Division and Tax Justice Network organized a sensitization workshop on the implementation progress of the Excise Duty Amendment Act 2023( ACT 1093).
The workshop, held on September 20 at the Sun Lodge Hotel in Accra was targeted at bringing together key stakeholders from the Ghana Revenue Authority to discuss the implementation progress of the Excise Duty Amendment Act, 2023 and to explore strategies for successful multi-stakeholder collaboration.
This is because the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy diets have been identified as major contributors to NCDs, which claim the lives of over 41 million people globally each year.
In Ghana alone, about one out of every three deaths are attributed to NCDs. The prevalence of tobacco products has surged due to urbanization and those living in urban areas have become targets.
The Excise Duty Amendment Act, 2023 which was passed on March 31, 2023 and implemented on May 1, 2023 has emerged as one of many interventions to help prevent NCDs, and health advocates such as the Vision for Alternative Development (VALD Ghana) has been on this journey for a number of years to create awareness.
Addressing those present at the workshop, Executive Director for VALD Ghana, Labram Musah, expressed his gratitude to every CSO and major stakeholders who played vital roles in advocating for such a bill to be passed by parliament.
He gave an overview on how VALD Ghana’s constant partnership with the government produced results as both parties ensured that the health of Ghanaians was safeguarded as well as making revenue for the government to help the health sector in times of crisis.
He reiterated that the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) which is the first global public health treaty was used as a reference to enusre the passing of the bill.
The WHO FCTC is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The WHO FCTC was developed by countries in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. It aims to tackle some of the causes of the epidemic, including complex factors with cross-border effects, such as trade liberalization and direct foreign investment, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship beyond national borders, and illicit trade in tobacco products.
Article 6 of the convention encourages price and tax measures as effective means to reduce the demand for tobacco. These include tax increases that result in an increase in the sales price of tobacco products, and prohibiting or restricting sales of tax and duty-free tobacco products.
Taking her turn, Madam Jemima Odonkor, Senior Officer at the Food and Drugs Authority said the Excise Duty Amendment Act 1093 has been a crucial tool in the fight against the rise in demand for tobacco and tobacco products.
“The Ministry of Health through the FDA in collaboration with stakeholders in tobacco control such as the GRA, WHO Ghana, and VALD has implemented several regulatory measures in the regulation of tobacco products in the country. This includes but is not limited to the registration of tobacco and tobacco products and the companies involved, issuance of import permits, introduction of country-specific products packaging and requirements among others.”
She added that the FDA continues to pledge its commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to ensure a tobacco-free society.
Chief Revenue at the Ghana Revenue Authority, Customs Department, CRO Edward Bagyire adding to the discussion said the Excise Duty Amendment Act has provided a platform for the regulatory body to clamp on products that are injurious to health as well as making revenue for the state as there has been a positive return in price change.
“The implementation is on course and the ICUMS has made the necessary inputs. It is noticeable that the prices of these products have gone up since the implementation of the Excise Duty Amendment Act as the GRA has collected GHS 140,245, 4.48p.”
Dr. Alex Kombat, an Assistant Commissioner at the GRA Headquarters took the participants through the various phases of the implementation process reiterating that while the Excise Duty Amendment Act is expected to reduce consumption, it is also expected to reduce consumption.
“GRA has put in several measures to ensure full implementation of the policy to fight tobacco menace and other dangers associated with excisable goods. One of the major amendments in recent Ghana tax history is the amendment of the Excise Duty Amendment Act 2023, Act 1093,” he stated.