Story by Dennis Asare
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Tuesday launched a mobile application dubbed “Ghana Tax Stamp Authenticator” that helps consumers detect the genuineness of products sold in retail shops.
The application allows the consumers to scan and validate the excise tax stamps affixed on excisable products such as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
He explained that the genuineness of the tax stamp was of prime importance to the Authority, stressing that the production of any fake tax stamp would defeat the purpose of the policy.
Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti, the Commissioner-General of GRA, speaking at the launch of the application in Accra, said the Excise Tax Stamp Act, 2013 (Act 873) required that excise tax stamps shall be affixed to specified excisable products manufactured in Ghana or imported into the country.
Meanwhile, the implementation of the Excise Tax Stamp policy started on January 1, 2018, with enforcement at the points of entry while point of sale enforcement started on March 1, 2018.
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 enforcement of the policy, but the gadgets were only used by the staff of the Authority.
He said the Authority developed the application to ensure that the monitoring process of the device was simplified and easily made available to the general public.
Mr Kwabena Apau Awua Anto, the Chief Revenue Officer in charge of the Excise Unit of GRA, explaining the installation process, said the public or the consumer needs to have an Android phone with at least 5.0 android version, 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 would 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 to the product.
He said after scanning the tax stamp code affixed to 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.