Food and beverage industry stakeholders are calling for the reversal of three recently implemented taxes, which took effect on May 1, 2023.
These taxes include the Income Tax Amendment, Excise Duty and Excise Tax Stamp Amendment, and Growth and Sustainability taxes.
The business community has expressed disappointment over the implementation, with traders voicing concerns about the potential negative impact on production and employment.
Interacting with the media, John Awuni, the Executive Director of the Food and Beverage Association of Ghana (FABAG), stated that the association anticipates the Finance Minister to withdraw the aforementioned taxes during the mid-year budget presentation.
“We are expecting that we can still engage with the government if it makes itself available. We have made so many appeals to parliament and the executive, and it appears no one is minding us, but we remain hopeful. In the mid-year budget, they should be able to reverse those three new taxes.”
“The Growth and Sustainability levy for example is extortion. It is absolutely unacceptable, and it is going to affect the ordinary Ghanaian. So we will speak to government as partners in development to ensure that they withdraw these taxes because they are odd”, he said.
Manufacturers, retailers, and other value chain stakeholders fear that the new tariffs will exacerbate production difficulties and lead to massive job losses.
The Excise Duty Amendment Bill will impose 20 percent on sweetened beverages and other products including processed fruit juice, cigar, mineral water, spirits, wines, and sparkling wine.
The Income Tax Amendment Act will charge a minimum of 5% on firms declaring losses for five years. Individuals earning income beyond ¢500 will attract some taxes, and the more one earns, the more taxes one will pay to the state.
For the Growth and Sustainability Levy Act, it requires banks, non-bank financial institutions, telecom companies, and firms working in the oil sector to pay 5% of their profit before tax to the state.
But traders insist the introduction of the new taxes will further increase the cost of doing business.
Those who sell beverages and bottled water are accusing some wholesalers of intentionally creating artificial shortages of some products as a means of adjusting prices to reflect the new tax measures.
The traders say customers are opposed to new prices of products that have increased following the implementation of the taxes.