As the financial year opens, the Uganda Revenue Authority is keen on keeping in the coffers over 4 trillion shillings that is lost in illicit trade.
The tax body is in the final stages of implementing a digital tracking solution that will see goods produced in Uganda and those imported in are stamped and monitored for payment of taxes.
The new stamps solution is part of URA’s scheme to combat illicit trade, seal revenue leakages and boost collection and increased efficiency in managing taxpayer compliance.
The digital tracking solution will be stationed at the finish line of the manufacturing companies of alcohol, soda, water and cigarettes by September.
“We have been installing digital tax stamping machines at the manufacturing lines of many business titans and the process has been smooth,” said Clare Musiime Bakanga, the change Lead for Digital Tracking Systems at URA.
“We expect to have over 80% compliant factories releasing digitally stamped products by September,” she added.
The solution recently met some resistance from manufacturers who argued that the system was expensive in terms of implantation and would increase their cost of doing business.
URA maintains the solution sought is expected to enable manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers to conveniently verify and trace all specified goods throughout the distribution chain.
The tax collection body currently loses close to 4 trillion shillings’ worth of tax revenue from illicit trade in alcohol, cigarettes and bottled water and soda.
Using the digital stamps, products from the manufacturing line will be tagged with a stamp before being sent to the market. URA inspection teams will then, working with the public, crackdown on products without the digital stamp.
The move is aimed at boosting the country’s revenue collection efforts and reduce trade in illicit and fake goods. URA is expected to achieve at least 20 trillion shillings’ worth of revenue collection this financial year.
UNBS has welcomed the digital tracking stamps as part of their fight against counterfeit goods.
Kenya and Tanzania are the other countries in the region that currently use digital stamps to make tax collection efficient and keep out of their markets counterfeit goods.
Digital Tax Stamps are physical paper stamp which are applied to goods or their packaging but in this case contain security features and codes to prevent counterfeiting; tamperproof features; track and trace capabilities to enable consumers validate the stamp, traders and manufacturers track the product movement and government to monitor compliance of the product and stamp.
They also have a quick response code (QR code) that will allow distributors, retailers and consumers to use an app on their smart phones to verify the authenticity of the products; and a provision for online ordering and approval for delivery of stamps.