By Amon Baita
The implementation of the Uganda Revenue Authority Digital Tax Stamp Solution (DTSS) is set to go live soon, after the last stage of installing equipment in factories is completed.
Speaking during the launch of the taxpayers’ appreciation month for Northern Uganda in Gulu over the weekend, Mr Cyprian Chillanyang, the URA business policy assistant commissioner, said the implementation will soon start, noting that the roll-out plan will have its first phase implemented throughout the 2019/20 financial year and will start with water, beer, soda, juices, cigarettes and other soft drinks.
“Right now, we are preparing soda and water factories to install equipment. Government has contracted a Swiss company (SICPA) that is going to put these tracking features in factories,” Mr Chillanyang said.
Traders, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers will be able to monitor the movement of their manufactured/imported goods easily through their phones and other tech gadgets by simply installing an app. They can also request an instant report of their daily, weekly, monthly or annual transactions, which will significantly improve record keeping for many traders. The stamps will facilitate easy processing of VAT refunds and quicken return filing (auto population of returns).
Importers will also benefit from the system, as it will quicken customs clearing, since the information would have been captured beforehand.
Consumers will be able to verify the genuineness of the product and stamp by simply; looking out for the physical security features on the stamp and/or sending an sms of the reference number on the stamp to the URA and feedback shall be given with key details about the manufacture of the product.
The new tax 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 solution is expected to enable manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers to conveniently verify and trace all specified goods throughout the distribution chain.
In a statement, the URA Assistant Commissioner Public and Corporate Affairs, Mr. Vincent Seruma said,
“Rumours of URA suspending the implementation of the digital tax solution are false; what was communicated to the manufacturers was the change in the go live dates to allow for the completion of installation of machinery at the factories and also make sure the due process of gazetting the solution is complete. URA will notify the manufacturers and the general public through appropriate channels including a public notice on the date of implementation.” He concluded by urging stakeholders and manufacturers to embrace the digital tax stamps as it is a critical tool in the fight against illicit trade and counterfeit goods.
These digital tax stamps also improve on accountability of production and protect local manufacturers. Uganda isn’t the first in the region to embrace the digital tax stamps, it has been implemented in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya and they are benefiting from the solution.