TRA Acting director for taxpayer services and education at TRA, Richard Kayombo said that having learnt from others, Tanzania was more than willing to extend a helping hand to Uganda and others that may be willing to move from paper tax stamps and adopt electronic ones.
He was reacting to statement that was issued Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala last week where he (President Museveni) backed the implementation of digital tax stamps on goods that are manufactured in Uganda.
President Museveni told tax collectors from across Africa who attended an African Tax Administration Forum in Kampala last week that the move to monitor the production lines of manufacturing companies would help reduce leakages
The forum came at a time when Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), launched on November 1, a project that will see manufacturers of sodas, beers, bottled water, cigarettes, wines and spirits, place digital tax stamps on their products.
Kayombo, who attended the forum in Uganda, commended President Museveni for the move.
“The president’s comment is indeed on track and confirms the decision already taken by Tanzania where we implemented the first phase from 15th January covering wines, spirits, beers and cigarettes while the second phase commenced on 1st August covering Soft drinks, water and carbonated drinks,” he said.
He said Tanzania was always ready to share experiences with other revenue administrations, saying doing so was the best way to learn from each other.
Tanzania, he said, has already been receiving a number of delegations as countries come to learn from TRA on various aspects like Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs), Customs innovations as well as property tax revenue collection developments.
“So far, we have had delegations Botswana while Namibia has also requested to come. We also learned from others before rolling out such tax innovations. We went to Morocco, Malaysia, Turkey and Kenya,” he said.
According to him, the most important thing with the ETS was that it enables the keeping of records for production quantities and volumes without human intervention.
“That way, the system guarantees respective taxes due to the government while avoiding unnecessary disputes,” he said.
Digital Tax Stamps have enhanced technology to allow revenue agencies to monitor in real time the production capacity of manufacturers and also allow consumers to cross check if products are genuine.
The government of Tanzania through TRA started the first phase of ETS system on wines, spirits and cigarettes in January, this year. The system was fully rolled out for all alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and bottled water on June 15, this year.
A Swiss firm, Société Industrielle et Commerciale de ProduitsAlimentaires (SICPA) won the tender and subsequently signed a contract with TRA for supply, installation and provision of supporting software and hardware for ETS management system.
The ETS management system automatically stamps the products at the end of the production line and submits the count in real time through a system to TRA.
ETS is meant to replace the hitherto paper-based tax stamps initially attached to cigarettes, wines and spirits. The old system was prone to cheating of taxes through under declaration, among other malpractices.