MOH Advocates Increase In Duties On Tobacco, 2 Other Products

The Ministry of Health is pushing for an increment in excise duties on three unhealthy products to raise an additional GH¢3.5 billion.

The three products, according to the Health Ministry are tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages, which have been identified to be among the major causes of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and cancers.

In the parameter of the Ghana Revenue Authority(GRA), excise duty is a tax imposed on the manufacture, sale, or consumption of some selected products such as alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, and petroleum products. Excise duty is also imposed on imported products to compensate for the internal levy on goods of like nature.

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, at a meeting held in Accra on July 10, 2023, on how health taxes could improve health outcomes in managing NCDs, noted that the Ministry would prefer that the revenue generated from the three unhealthy consumables are channeled into the management of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

He was of the view that NCDs are silently killing citizens with the Ministry recording about 17,000 deaths every year.

“In as much as we admit that the increase in the taxes on these products may reduce consumption, it also presents a good opportunity to expand fiscal space to support government priorities which include health-related interventions focusing on NCD prevention, early detection, and treatment to mitigate a huge financial burden on individuals and the state in future,” he said.

He added that the concept of health tax was a powerful tool for revenue generation that had been successfully implemented in many countries.

“The ad valorem tax should be maintained while introducing a uniform specific excise tax on tobacco products, introducing a specific excise tax on alcoholic beverages (based on ethanol content) and introducing a specific excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (based on sugar content),” Mr Agyeman-Manu said.

“Introducing a specific excise tax to increase the retail price of alcoholic beverages by 20 percent will generate an additional GH¢2.4 billion in excise tax revenue and reduce consumption by 7.6 percent in 2023. It will avert more than 44,000 deaths over 100 years,” he proposed.

“Increasing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages by introducing a specific excise tax to increase retail price by 20 percent in the country will generate an additional GH¢1 billion in excise tax revenue and reduce consumption by 23.9 percent in 2023, and avert 155,000 deaths over 100 years,” he added.

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