Can Smartphones improve Kenya’s tax collection? Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner for Domestic tax Benson Korongo thinks so. And he has statistics to prove it.
KRA announced Monday that it has introduced a new generation excise stamps that can be verified through smartphones.
The new excise stamps bear a Quick Response Code (QR Code) that will used to collect tax from tobacco, wines, spirits, Ready to Drink (RTDs) alcoholic drinks and beers.
“The new excise stamps are part of the rollout of the Electronic Goods Management System (EGMS) which is aimed at combating illicit trade and sealing revenue leakage loopholes therefore enhancing compliance,” said KRA in a statement quoting the commissioner.
Korongo, said the introduction of the Smartphone app will enable the manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers verify and trace all excisable goods through the distribution chain.
“Through the system, we can ensure that counterfeit products that are harmful for consumers don’t flow through the distribution chain.” Korongo said.
Old generation paper stamps affixed on wines, cigarettes, beers and spirituous drinks will remain valid until all products on which they have been affixed are consumed.
Excise revenue grew by 28 percent in the year 2015/16 over the collection in the year 2014/15. In the same period domestic excise revenue from products controlled under EGMS grew by 43 percent contributing an additional collection of Sh8 billion, the highest recorded annual growth in history.
Further in the period 2010-2016, products under the stamping and EGMS regime recorded stronger growth as compared to non-stamped products with products under the stamping programme consistently recording annual growth of over 10 percent while the non-stamped products recorded growth of less than 10 percent.
“Following the strong revenue performance of the products manages under EGMS, the authority is in advanced consultations with relevant stakeholders for the roll out of the system on the remaining excisable goods” said Korongo.
KRA advised the public to use the Smartphone application to verify and report any illicit products to the taxman’s nearest offices.