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Excise tax stamps to protect Malawians

Excise tax stamps to protect Malawians

The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) says the extension of the application of tax stamps to other excisable products beyond cigarettes will protect Malawians from consuming illicit, counterfeit and smuggled products.

Excise Stamps Project Manager Steven Kuntembwe said this during a stakeholder meeting on the implementation of excise tax stamps with clearing agents, importers, distributors, retailers and liquor shop owners in Lilongwe.

He said illicit, counterfeit and smuggled goods are hazardous as they to pose health risks to consumers

‘‘One of the objectives of the implementation of excise tax stamps is to control consumption of unbranded and counterfeit products where source of products cannot be verified and authenticated,’’ he said.

He said it is sad to note that at least 10 people had died at Manase in Blantyre after consuming an illicit lethal brew called ‘‘Ambuye Nditengeni’’ or ‘‘Magagada’’, which was allegedly laced with methanol.  

Kuntembwe said the deaths underline the need for excise tax stamps to control the consumption of illicit, counterfeit and smuggled products which are hazardous to the health and wellbeing of Malawians.

‘‘Excise Tax stamps on certified products is an assurance that a product is fit for consumption. We will be working hand in hand with the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) on this project to protect Malawians from consuming hazardous products’’ he said.

Kuntembwe said the implementation of excise tax stamps is also aimed at protecting local industries from unfair competition posed by illicit, smuggled and counterfeit excisable products.

He said in October 2023 a couple was convicted in Ntcheu for producing fake Malawi Gin whose original patent is owned by Castel Malawi.

‘‘Consumption of fake Malawi Gin is not only hazardous to health but also undercuts Castel Malawi as a legitimate producer. This case underlines the importance of tax stamps in protecting both consumers and producers of excisable products.,’’ he said.   

The extension of the application of excise tax stamps beyond cigarettes follows the amendment of the Customs & Excise Act in 2021.

A tax stamp, which is a physical or digital seal or sticker on a product to indicate that Excise Tax has been paid, will be affixed on an array of excisable products including bottled water, energy drinks, malt beer, opaque beer, spirits, whiskies, drinks made from cereals like Maheu and carbonated soft drinks.  

Swiss firm SICPA, which has successfully rolled out tax stamps and other fiscal solutions in 17 countries globally, will be supplying tax stamps in Malawi.

MRA is engaging various stakeholders to sensitize them on the implementation of tax stamps which are expected to be launched May 2024.

 

 

BY WADZA OTOMANI

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