As part of efforts to reduce the consumption of tobacco products and its related health hazards, the Parliament of Ghana has approved an increase in tobacco taxes through the passage of the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2015 into Law.
The Bill seeks to amend the first schedule of the Excise Duty Act, 2014 (Act 878) and proposes an 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, indicated that “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 also 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.
This measures is in line with Ghanas obligations under Article 6 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which Ghana is a Party since February 2005. A needs assessment concerning Ghanas obligations under the WHO FCTC was conducted jointly by the Convention Secretariat (WHO FCTC) and the Government of Ghana in April 2010. The report of the mission found that since the government has not increased tobacco taxation recently, the price of tobacco products has actually gone down with the inflation, which makes them more affordable over time, and recommended that the government considers increasing excise taxes on tobacco products. This is the second occasion that the Government increases tobacco taxes after the said mission.
More information is available from: Kyei-Faried S., tobacco control focal point, Ghana Health Service (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).