KAMPALA — The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) opened the 2020/2021 financial year with a revenue surplus of about UGX278 billion, thanks to Digital Stamps.
URA said for the month of July 2020, their net revenue collection was about UGX1.2 trillion against their target of UGX923.3 billion.
“The cumulative net surplus as of July 31, 2020 was UGX278 billion,” URA said.
From domestic taxes, the tax body made gross collections of UGX732 billion in July against a target of UGX574 billion, registering a surplus of UGX158. 6 billion despite coronavirus havoc on businesses.
At a recent media engagement, Mr. Ian Rumanyika, the URA Ag. Assistant Commissioner Public and Corporate Affairs attributed the surplus revenue to efficient internal administrative measures such as the implementation of digital tax stamps (DTS) which have helped stop under-declaration at production and importation levels.
Whereas there still some unscrupulous business people who are counterfeiting the digital tax stamp, Rumanyika told journalists that URA is aware and it is working out mechanisms to seal the loopholes.
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 allow distributors, retailers, and consumers to use an app on their smartphones to verify the authenticity of the products.
URA says consumers will soon 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.
Officials say feedback shall be given with key details about the manufacture of the product.
Rumanyika said DTS solution is helping to wipe out illicit trading while levelling the unfair business play field in favour of the compliant taxpayers.
“With DTS, consumers are empowered to confirm that what they buy conforms to the UNBS standards. The partnership between URA and UNBS ensures that stamps are only given to certified manufactures and importers for the general safety of the consumer”.
DTS was operationalised in November 2019 where six products, namely beer, soda, water, wines, spirits, and cigarettes were gazetted by the minister to apply digital tax stamps. This was mandated for both manufacturers and importers of the said goods.
The taxman will commence phase II which targets bottled Cement and Sugar.
According to figures,
by March 2021, URA had recovered over UGX 3.5bn in revenue as a result of netting 33 Digital Tracking Solution (DTS) flouters who were caught manufacturing, selling, exporting or distributing gazetted goods without the tax stamps.
Mr. Rumanyika told reporters that if unstamped products are found at the manufacturer’s premises, the premises are sealed off, owners penalised as stipulated in the law with the task to stamp products going forward.
In addition, he said, some beverage manufacturing premises were found unworthy to pack such products for human consumption given the poor level of hygiene on display in the process of packaging their products.
URA has successfully registered a total of 315 businesses on DTS comprising of 247 manufacturers and 68 importers, against an initial target of 107 manufactures and 33 importers.