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File photo / Amélia Nakhare
The chairperson of the Mozambican Tax Authority (AT), Amelia Nakhare, has warned that the Mozambican state is suffering huge losses from contraband.
Speaking in Maxixe, the economic capital of the southern province of Inhambane, Nakhare, who was launching a national campaign against contraband, claimed that smuggled goods are taking more than 40 per cent of the revenue from trade that should enter state coffers.
According to an AT press release, Nakhare said this was money that should be used to boost the government’s capacity to invest in the basic services and facilities that Mozambicans need, such as schools, hospitals and roads.
“These are very large sums, and we have many needs in our country which could be met with this money that goes on contraband”, she declared.
The campaign, Nakhare explained, is intended to make Mozambicans aware that the AT cannot fight contraband on its own. “It is necessary that all of us Mozambicans work together on this great challenge, to guarantee that Mozambique can reach zero contraband”, she said.
The campaign complements the AT’s measures to put stamps on tobacco products and alcoholic drinks, and to ban the import of such goods that do not bear the stamps. The presumption is that any tobacco goods that do not bear the stamp have been smuggled into the country.
“If a Mozambican is aware that, when he or she buys a pack of cigarettes, the pack must be stamped, then when they find packs that do not bear the stamp, they shouldn’t buy them”, urged Nakhare. “They should say ‘this has been smuggled. If I buy it, I’m supporting contraband’. The same will happen with alcoholic drinks”.
As from 17 March, the sale of tobacco products without the stamp became illegal. The same measure will apply to wines and spirits as from 16 May, and to imported beers as from 17 November. Distributers and retailers who, by those dates, still have unstamped goods must contact the AT to request the stamp.Source: AIM