Accra, April 29, GNA – Members of the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG) has cautioned the government to tighten its security networks at the entry points or risk losing millions of Cedis to illegal alcohol dealers.
“Their activity is not only denying the government the necessary revenue, but is also posing a health risk to Ghanaians, as most of their chemical compositions are not approved by the Food and Drug Board and the Ghana Standards Board.”
These were contained in a research conducted by the Association and presented to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Industry for study.
Mr John Awuni, a member of FABAG, who briefed Members of Parliament and Journalists about the survey, said the introduction of Excise duties on alcoholic beverages was also impacting negatively on revenue generation for government as the products were now cheaper in the hitherto importing countries than in Ghana.
He explained that, before the increase in excise for the products, most West African countries bought their consignments in Ghana because it was cheaper, but the increase in the excise has made it expensive buying the same products, affecting the Ghanaian imports by almost 70 percent.
“Forewin Ghana Limited, for example, in the first quarter of 2009, exported 67, 917 cartons of Tetra wine to neighbouring countries, attracting GH¢ 209.170.00 revenue to government, but with the increase in excise on alcoholic beverages, the Company managed to export only 20, 976 cartons of the stuff, attracting only GH¢ 79.465.00 as revenue to government.”
He said while most of the alcoholic beverages were smuggled into the country, others faked the original beverages, which posed serious health risks on consumers.
Mr Awuni, who is also the Corporate Affairs Director of Finatrade Group of Companies, said most of the smuggled and fake alcoholic beverages were sold to hotels, restaurants, night clubs and drinking spots.
The Association advocated an excise stamp on the bottles of all legitimate imported or locally produced alcoholic beverages, to distinguish them from the fake ones.
Mr Awuni said out of the total 10 million litres of alcohol consumed in the country on annual basis, about 55 percent of those beverages were either smuggled into the country or faked and called on consumers and government to be vigilant against such products on the market.