By Amin Kef (Ranger)
The National Revenue Authority (NRA), on Thursday February 1, 2024, has successfully activated the Product Tracing System (PTS) at manufacturing companies in Freetown, marking a pivotal step in revenue protection. The initial rollout targets importers, distributors, and retailers dealing with tobacco, wine, spirituous, and other alcoholic beverages.
Commissioner General, Jeneba J. Bangura, expressed pride in achieving this significant milestone, emphasizing the system’s role in ensuring transparency, combating illicit trade, and boosting revenue. The initiative aligns with the broader goals of infrastructure, technology, and innovation outlined in the Medium-Term National Development Plan 2024-2030, known as the Big Five Game Changers.
The PTS, a state-of-the-art track and trace solution, monitors products from production or importation to distribution, underlining a commitment to transparency and accountability.
Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, Senior Commissioner of the Domestic Tax Department at NRA, highlighted the system’s capability to trace goods effectively, preventing smuggling, tax evasion and identifying potential loopholes.
Beyond revenue protection, the system enhances efforts to combat contrabands entering the country. Leveraging advanced technologies like barcode scanning, GPS tracking, and data analytics, the PTS provides the NRA with real-time, accurate information on the movement of goods. This meticulous documentation aims to bolster domestic revenue mobilization.
Khalil Farhat Hidjazi, Managing Director of a beverage company, integrating with the system, urged companies and consumers to support the reform and cautioned that non-compliance would designate products without proper markings as potentially smuggled.
As the PTS goes live, it is anticipated to set a precedent for other beverage producers and importers to adhere to the Excise Stamps and Other Markings Regulations of 2022. The implementation stands as a testament to the NRA’s commitment to modernizing trade practices and ensuring a secure and accountable marketplace.