KRA launched a phone app to tackle tax evasion and faking of heavily taxed products. The tool work with a new generation of stamps that bear a Quick Response Code (QRC) that will be affixed to all tobacco, beers and other alcoholic drinks. “The verification of the new excise stamps using a smartphone app will enable consumers to verify products, hence guaranteeing their safety,” said Benson Korongo, the commissioner, Domestic Taxes Department at KRA.
“Through the system, we can ensure that counterfeit products that are harmful to consumers don’t flow through the distribution chain,” Mr Korongo said. Old-generation paper stamps affixed on wines, cigarettes, beers and spirits will, however, remain valid until all products on which they have been affixed are consumed.
In the planned upgrade, KRA inspectors, sellers and ordinary consumers can download the application to their smartphones and use it to scan and determine if stamps are genuine. Manufacturers of excisable goods are also able to trace their produce through the distribution chain until they reach retailers’ shelves.
How to use
When I tried the app, the phone’s camera is activated, with an on-screen framing guide. Line up the camera on my device with the QR code I want to scan, and hold the device steady until the app can read the code in front of it. When the app has recognized the QR code, it beeped and display the info the code contains.
Its complex, many will not persists since does not scan the codes at first attempts. The app is not well designed to be user friendly. Depending on smart phone penetration in Kenya, not all are able to purchase smartphone hence the best way to fight out fake excise stamps would be use of USSD.
If the KRA are in war to weed out fake excise stamps should have find a better way that is accessible to common Mwananchi even in rural areas where most of this fake commodities are sold .