Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has said it will by August this year have completed the first phase of the implementation of its new Digital Tracking Solutions (DTS) normally referred to as Digital stamps.
The implementation will start with cigarettes/tobacco by May, liquor including spirits, beers, wines by July, sodas in August and water in September 2019.
Earlier this year, URA announced that it will start the implementation to track imported and locally manufactured goods with an aim of eliminating the use and sell of illicit goods.
The call however was negatively received by the traders who feel that digital stamps will be another form of taxation.
According to Clare Musiime Bakanga, the Change Leader Digital Tracking Solutions Project, URA, the new system is only intended to combat smuggling of illicit goods as well as the sale of uncertified foods from the Ugandan market.
“We are working with UNBS to ensure that only legitimate and original goods are traded on the Ugandan market. With the new DTS, we will be able to track down goods that invade the certification processes,” she said.
“This is mainly intended to protect consumers from taking uncertified harmful products. We urge the consumers to look out for these stamps on the gazetted products before buying and consuming them. This will also help us in controlling tax invasion,” she said.
Uganda loses over Shs 10b in illicit trade.
According to Musiime, the government will cover the cost of stamps for the first year, but only for the local manufacturers and mainly cigarettes.
How it will be done
Manufacturers and importers are required to register in the URA DTS system where an account will be created for each company.
The company will then forecast the quantity of stamps it will require for a certain period of time and then order for the stamps which will be manually collected from Sicpa (U), (the company contracted to produce the stamps) by a certified person to ensure accountability.
For imported goods, stamps will be attached from the country of origin while the locally produced goods will be stamped at a designated place at the manufacturing center.
URA has already put in place a consumer engagement platform that will enable consumers to use an application on their smart phones to censure the goods.
Uganda is not the first country to use DTS to track goods. Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda are already using the technology.