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SPOTLIGHT: Minister flags UNBS for slowing digital stamps rollout

The Igara County East MP, Michael Mawanda, is troubled about the modus operandi of implementing the digital stamps policy by the Uganda Revenue Authority.

Digital tax stamps rolled out in November 2019 contain security features and codes to prevent counterfeiting of products and enable tracking and trace capabilities.

Mawanda said that in 2017, Parliament amended the Tax Procedures Code Act of 2014 that introduced digital stamps, which are placed on locally manufactured goods.

Whilst contributing during the plenary sitting on Wednesday, 04 April 2022, Mawanda added that earlier this year, the finance minister expanded the list of items to carry the digital tax stamp.

The new products gazetted to bear the digital tax stamp are cooking oil, juices, alcohol, non-alcoholic and fermented beverages. The first batch at the start of the implementation included beer, soda, bottled water, wines, spirits, tobacco products, sugar, and cement.

“In order to get the digital stamp, you needed to undergo the process of certification from Uganda National Bureau Standards (UNBS),” Mawanda said.

He added that there has been a lot of backlog at UNBS since 2018, which has left many traders stranded, yet they had invested in beverages.

“At the moment, UNBS has a lot of backlogs and they canot ably certify all the products. Many business people are left stranded without this stamp meaning they cannot sell,” he said.

The Minister of State for Trade, David Bahati, said that the introduction of digital stamps has aided revenue collection.

“This is a positive thing because since we passed the law, the revenue collection increased. We shall have a meeting with the finance ministry to resolve some of these issues.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, who chaired the House, directed that the ministers of trade and finance together with the chairpersons of these committees meet to resolve the issue.

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