NAIROBI, Kenya, March 14 (Reuters) – Kenya’s Revenue Agency has begun a frequent rollout of new generation excise stamps to reduce illicit trade in the country.
The tax officer has completed the introduction of the latest version of the excise stamps (version four), which was implemented in three phases.
The first phase was launched for alcohol products in early December, followed by the second phase for soft drinks and water towards the end of December.
The last phase was tobacco and keg beer products, which were completed in February this year.
Linstrom Kinoti, project leader of the excise goods management system, said during a media awareness workshop on the launch of the new generation stamps that KRA relies on regular updates to the stamps to ensure they are up to date with security features to reduce counterfeiting.
“We are also training consumers, wholesalers and sellers on how to self-check products using the mobile app known as Soma-Label,” said Kinoti.
The new generation is expected to increase sales while protecting legitimate industries from counterfeiting.
The Excise Goods Management System (EGMS) was first introduced in 2013 for alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. The scheme has helped raise the excise duty from Sh700 million to Sh5.6 billion annually.
Last year there were concerns that the Kenyan retail market was being flooded with counterfeit excise stamps, fueling the growth of illegal trade, mainly in excise goods.
According to the Anti-Counterfeits Authority (ACA), Kenya loses more than Sh$153 billion in tax revenue annually to illegal trade.
ACA also notes that Kenya has one of the largest markets for counterfeit and contraband goods in East Africa, ranging from alcohol, electronics and pharmaceuticals to food, clothing and tobacco.