Uganda has launched its new tax stamp and traceability programme on six different products: beer, spirits, wine, soda, mineral water and tobacco products.
Locally produced and imported tobacco products will carry a standard-sized, paper-based stamp, while local and imported wine, spirits and beer kegs will carry a long stamp placed as a seal over the opening of the bottle/keg. As for imported beer, soda and mineral water, these will be affixed with a round stamp, while local beer, soda and mineral water will carry a directly printed unique secure mark, instead of a paper stamp (as shown in the pictures above).
The main design feature of the stamps takes the form of the national bird of Uganda – the crested crane – which also appears on the Ugandan flag and coat of arms.
Manufacturers have been given a three-month grace period, up to end January, 2020, to use up all stock in the distribution chain that does not carry the new stamps, reports www.independent.co.ug. In the same grace period, installation of stamp-affixing technology will take place on the manufacturers’ and importers’ production lines.
The DTS, as the new system is called (where DTS stands for both Digital Tax Stamps and Digital Tracking Solution) is reported to be a significant upgrade to the previous tax stamps, which were used on cigarettes only and which had no unique identifying code for track and trace purposes. The system is provided by SICPA.
Traditionally, one of the only measures used by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to control the recovery of excise duties involved the posting of staff at each factory to physically monitor the volume of production. In 2002, the URA introduced tax stamps as an additional measure to monitor production and imports. However, the recovery of excise has remained persistently below expectations due to inefficiencies in the product monitoring process.
For instance, the URA reported recently that only 18% of Ugandan soda and bottled water companies are on the tax register. And according to the Uganda Manufacturers Association, the soda and bottled water tax gap is eye-wateringly wide, with less than 1% of excise taxes actually being collected.