KAMPALA – The government has revealed plans to introduce digital stamps to help track the origin of counterfeit goods that make their way into the market.
Speaking during a conference to bring together government agencies, businessmen and the public to discuss counterfeits at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala Junior finance David Bahati said in the next few months, all goods entering the country will have digital stamps.
“Verification of the products will be done at the source where the products are manufactured and by the time they reach here, they have already been checked, Bahati said adding this will enable the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to verify the quality of the goods.
He said under the new arrangement Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) custom officials will now be looking at digital stamps to determine the tax to be paid by a particular product and government has already signed an agreement with a service provider for digital stamps for the URA.
“We think if we did that, which we are going to do in a few months from now because we have finished the arrangements, then fake goods will be reduced on the market,” he added.
Digital Tax Stamps are physical paper stamps which are applied to goods or their packaging but in this case contain security features and codes to prevent counterfeiting, tamperproof features, track and trace capabilities to enable; consumers validate the stamp, traders and manufacturers track the product movement and government to monitor compliance of the product and stamp.
The stamps also have a quick response code (QR code) that will allow distributors, retailers, and consumers to use an app on their smartphones to verify the authenticity of the products.
Mr. Bahati said consumers will be able to verify the genuineness of the product and stamp by simply looking out for the physical security features on the digital 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.
Also In bid to ease trade and promote the security of cargo, the government recently launched non-intrusive inspection scanners at Busia and Malaba.
The cargo scanners were acquired from NUCTECH, a China-based company by Uganda Revenue Authority customs’ department to streamline and improve cargo in transit thus boosting international trade.
Government said marketplace where illicit cross-border trade and smuggling is still thriving, supply chain security is very crucial and that customs, therefore, need to prevent illegal transport of unauthorized or undeclared goods and migrants alike.