How digital stamps can support Tanzania's war against counterfeits 

18Oct 2021
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
How digital stamps can support Tanzania's war against counterfeits 

TANZANIA can make strides in combating counterfeits if it fully adopts Electronic Tax Stamps (ETS), thanks to their ability to track and trace manufactured goods.

This is due to the fact that tracking and tracing security features that are embedded in the ETS’ make it easy to tell which one is fake and which one is original according to ETS project manager at Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Innocent Minja.

 ETS’ -- which was adopted  in January 2019 -- both the taxman and the consumer can easily and effectively tell whether the stamp fixed on a product is original or fake.

Minja said through a mobile app, which is set for launch soon, every individual will also be able to track and trace the authenticity of a product before consuming.

This is contrary to the previous paper stamps which were difficult to tell between the original and the fake one.

Data from TRA show that there had been a significant rise in the number of manufacturers whose products are affixed with ETS’ during the past two years.

“The number of manufacturers of beer, spirits and wines has risen significantly from only 57 before the introduction of ETs’ to 272 as of August this year,” said Minja.

In Tanzania, the government announced plans to adopt the Electronic Tax Stamps (ETS) system in June 2018 and the first phase was conducted on January 15, 2019 whereby stamps were installed on companies that produce beer, wine and spirits.

Phase two of the project was rolled out on August 1, 2019 when ETS’ were stamped on sweetened flavored water and other non-alcoholic beverages, like energy and malt drinks and soda.

The third phase, which involved enrolling electronic stamps on fruit juices (including grape must), vegetable juices (under Heading 20.09), and bottled drinking water, was conducted November 1, 2020.

This, according to Minja, is also a step ahead to both the government and manufacturers because it removes the need for TRA officials and a manufacturing company or an importer to go through the hassle of sitting down and discussing the right amount to be paid in tax.

Since the adoption of ETS’, excise duty collections have risen 60 - percent if the three years prior to the rollout of ETS’ on beer, wines and spirits is compared to an almost similar period after the rollout.

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