GHANA - As part of efforts to reduce the consumption of tobacco products and its related health hazards, Parliament has approved an increase in the price of tobacco products in the country.
The increase follows the passage of the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2015 into Law.
The Bill which was presented to the House and read the first time by the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, last Friday in accordance with Article 174(1) of the 1992 constitution, seeks to amend the first schedule of the Excise Duty Act, 2014 (Act 878) to increase the Excise Duty on cigarettes and cigars from 150 per cent of the ex-factory price to 170 per cent.
Chairman of the finance committee, James Klutse Avedzi, who moved the motion for the adoption of the committee's report on the Bill said the committee noted that the Bill was one of the revenue Bills proposed in the 2015 Budget statement which should have come into effect in January, adding that the delay affected the generation of tax revenue negatively.
He said "the primary objective of the bill was to increase prices of tobacco products to serve as a disincentive to reduce the consumption of tobacco products in the country."
He told the House that Ghana's Excise tax as a percentage of cigarettes price was one of the lowest in the region and in an effort to reduce the consumption of tobacco and its related health hazards, there was the need to increase the excise duty on tobacco products to bring in tandem with the average for Africa.
The government of Ghana as part of measures to consolidate fiscal stability and promote growth introduced a number of revenue measure in the 2015 Economic Policy and Budget statement of the government.
These measures among others were to correct the imbalances in tax administration and to increase tax revenue.
In a related development, the House also passed the National Disaster Management Organisation Bill, 2015 into Law.
The Bill seeks to strengthen disaster management in the country by reorganising NADMO to ensure a participatory approach to disaster management as well as motivating people to act responsibly to prevent or mitigate the effects of disasters - ISD (Gilbert Ankrah)