MRA to introduce tax stamps

MRA to introduce tax stamps

Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has said it will introduce tax stamp on products as a way of protecting local and legitimate products from unfair competition from illicit, smuggled and counterfeit products.

An excise tax stamp is a physical or digital seal or sticker on a product to indicate that Excise Tax has been paid. There are two types of excise tax stamps namely paper and digital tax stamps. Paper tax stamps are applied as stickers while digital tax stamps printed on the products using special ink.

Head of Corporate Affairs at MRA Steven Kapoloma told journalists on Wednesday during a two-day media training in Lilongwe that MRA wants to control consumption of unbranded and counterfeits products where source of products cannot be verified and authenticated and also to promote voluntary tax compliance amongst manufacturers and importers.

He added that MRA wants to root out smuggled, fake and hazardous products so that only legitimate products should be on the market.

“Because of smuggling, the market share of products that have been produced in Malawi has been impacted negatively. By bringing in tax stamps, we will make it a possibility that now the local industry will be saved from the competition of smuggled products.

“Products that are found on the market without the stamps will be confiscated by the Malawi Revenue Authority and destroyed. We want to protect the country,” he said.

He went on to say that Customs and Excise (2021 Amendment) Act mandated the extension of the Excise Tax stamps regime and this targets local manufacturers, importers and distributors of specified excisable products.

According to Kapoloma, the targeted products will be Bottled Water (Pure and Flavoured), Carbonated soft drinks, Maheu, Energy drinks, Malt beer, Wines, Opaque beer, Spirits/ Whiskies, Cigarettes, Lotion and Glycerin.

He said other countries have benefited through introduction of a similar stamps initiatives. Kapoloma mentioned Uganda which he said grew revenue by 29.3% after increasing tax stamp from 200 in 2020 to 1100 in 2023.

ln Morocco, revenue in beer industry grew by 30% through Tax stamps paid by manufacturers and importers while Kenya Revenue Authority also realized significant revenue growth and saw migration of operators from medium to large taxpayer segment.

MRA is implementing tax stamps with SICPA of Switzerland who will supply tax stamps and SICPA Trace monitoring and reporting solution. SICPA has successfully rolled out tax stamps in 17 countries globally, including 8 in Africa.