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Written by on January 14, 2022

Tax Expert Professor Oliver Saasa has urged the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to undertake extensive due diligence before implementing the proposed Digital Tax Stamps (DTS).

In a statement obtained by Flava Fm News, Prof Saasa warns that when not implemented correctly, the tax measure may have the potential to raise operational costs for legitimate manufacturers in the excisable sector, thus putting inflationary pressure on certain products.

Digital Tax Stamps are paper stamps attached to goods or their packaging to facilitate tracking and the solution is part of Government’s strategy to combat illicit trade, plug revenue leakages and close existing gaps in the tax collection system.

Professor Saasa has further said that while DTS was effective in sectors rife with smuggling, counterfeiting, tax leakages and production under-declaration, a blanket implementation would be detrimental to compliant manufacturers.

He has stated that Technology offers progressive and practical solutions to persistent problems affecting various sectors of the economy saying however what makes the DTS so contentious is that it may be offering the right solution to the wrong problem or indeed to a problem that does not exist.

The Professor notes that a poorly designed solution would likely result in increased operational costs for compliant manufacturers in excisable sectors like the clear beer industry adding that the additional costs will eventually be passed onto consumers who may react by buying less of the affected goods.

Prof Saasa has since urged the ZRA to focus on the problem and not the technology and has called for further engagement with affected private sector players insisting that the stamp’s intended benefits notwithstanding, ZRA needed to urgently address some of the more pressing concerns raised by stakeholders before the rollout commences.

Meanwhile, Professor Saasa has commended ZRA for digitizing its tax collection systems saying the technology would augment the authority’s capacity to combat crime.

By Raphael Mulenga

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