Officials and participants in a group photo
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is pushing for an increase in excise duties on unhealthy products to deter the public from consumption while generating additional revenue.
According to the ministry, increasing taxes on tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages which contribute to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes and cancers can generate an additional GH¢3.5 billion in revenue for the country.
The ministry indicated that the revenue generated from the taxes should be channeled into the management of NCDs which causes 17,000 deaths in the country each 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,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Health, Mahama Asei Seini, made the call at a dissemination workshop on health taxes in Accra.
Health taxes involve the levying of charges on products that are deemed harmful to health, such as tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages.
The proposal presented by the ministry also calls for the introduction of a specific excise tax that would increase cigarettes by GH¢6; alcoholic beverages by 20 per cent while increasing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages by introducing a specific excise tax to increase the retail price by 20 per cent.
Alhaji Asei Seini said the proposals also satisfied the ECOWAS directive of a specific minimum excise tax of at least $0.40 per pack and generated an additional GH¢131 million in revenue while reducing consumption by 26.6 per cent in 2023, and averting 34,600 deaths during the lifespan of Ghanaians living now.
“Introducing a specific excise tax to increase retail price of alcoholic beverages by 20 per cent will generate an additional GH¢2.4 billion in excise tax revenue and reduce consumption by 7.6 per cent in 2023, and avert more than 44,000 deaths over 100 years,” the ministry proposed.
“Increasing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages by introducing a specific excise tax to increase retail price by 20 per cent in the country will generate an additional GH¢1 billion in excise tax revenue and reduce consumption by 23.9 per cent in 2023, and avert 155,000 deaths over 100 years,” the proposal further indicated.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri