Maputo — The Mozambican Tax Authority (AT) has warned that, as from Saturday, it will seize any cigarettes of other tobacco products that do not carry a fiscal stamp.
The general director of the Mozambican customs Service, Ally Malla, interviewed in Friday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, recalled that the deadline for placing the fiscal stamps on tobacco goods is 1 July, and for alcoholic drinks it is 16 July.
The companies that produce or import the tobacco or drinks have to purchase the fiscal stamps, which are sold in blocks of a thousand, at various prices. The stamps for locally produced cigarettes cost 7.5 euros (about 8.6 US dollars) per 1,000. For imported cigarettes the cost is much steeper - 17.22 euros per thousand. There are similar price variants between the stamps used on local and imported drinks.
Malla said the price of the stamps is fixed in euros, rather than in the Mozambican currency, meticais, because they are produced in Britain. That decision was taken in order to ensure security features on the stamps to avoid forgeries. “The only way to maintain price stability was to fix the price in euros”, he said.
Any goods found after the deadline without the fiscal stamp will be seized, Malla declared. “There's no other way”, he said. “The inspection teams will have to confiscate these products, because they will be contraband, if imported, or, if produced in the country, they will have paid no taxes”.
Mozambican drinks and cigarettes receive the stamp as they are packaged and then, before they leave the factory for sale to the public, they must pay the taxes due.
Malla believed that the fiscal stamps will strike a blow against smuggling and could thus greatly increase tax revenue from drinks and tobacco goods. He said it is estimated that in 2015 the Mozambican state lost 324 million US dollars in unpaid taxes on contraband drink and cigarettes.
He admitted that imports might fall “but that's not our intention. Our intention is to reduce the smuggling and contraband in these goods.”