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Botswana gets digital on sin tax

BURS contracts global solution provider Authentix to track and better manage revenue linked to the sale of tobacco and alcohol products.

Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) has inked a ten-year contract to acquire and implement digital tax stamp, a fiscal marking and digital tracking system, from global provider of authentication solutions Authentix to manage the sale of tobacco and alcohol products.

Authentix says the solution is designed to prevent illicit trade and counterfeits, while also ensuring that citizens receive genuine and safe products.

Kevin McKenna, CEO of Authentix, said, “The new digital track and trace system will boost tax revenue collections levied on manufacturers and importers by increasing industry compliance, reducing illicit trade, and preventing the under-reporting of volumes. The new contract covers the marking and digital tracking of an estimated 500 million product units per year.”

The contract includes SaaS-based IT data platform Authentix TransAct, along with direct printing of secure, serialised digital product codes.

Authentix believes the system will help combat fraud and ensure a level playing field for all legitimate industry stakeholders.

However, the country’s apex enterprise body, Business Botswana has warned that the system’s implementation could have complex and unintended consequences.

Business Botswana and the industry are concerned that the proposed reforms will not address the identified challenges but actually exacerbate them because introducing fiscal marks is a costly solution said Gobusamang Keebine, President of Business Botswana.

“Consequently complaint industries will be forced to pass on the cost of tax stamps to the consumer by increasing prices, decreasing output and eventually restructuring their businesses. The illicit or informal market, on the other hand, will grow to fill the gap, which will exacerbate tax evasion and not mitigate it, as intended.”

BURS spokesperson Mable Bolele declined to comment on the matter.

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