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URA Registers 317 Manufacturers on DTS in less Than 2 Years

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A total of 317 manufacturers of the gazetted products are currently registered on the Digital Tracking Solution (DTS), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has revealed.

URA had targeted to register 107 manufacturers, the additional 210 indicates a 262% performance.

A DTS is a mark or label applied to goods and their packaging and contains security features and codes to prevent counterfeiting of goods through its trace and track capabilities.

They come in different formats like; a direct ink print mainly on bottled water, soda and beer, the short rectangular paper stamp on cigarettes, the round paper stamp on some bottled water, soda and beer brands, and the long rectangular paper stamp which goes over the top of wine/spirit bottles.

It is currently implemented in different products like; beer, soda, water, wines, spirits, cigarettes, sugar and cement.

The system provides for application of Digital Tax Stamps by producers and importers, using both automated and manual processes of production.

Ian Rumanyika, the Commissioner of Public Corporate Affairs told ChimpReports that the solution was designed to deter existing deficiencies in tracking and tracing of locally manufactured and imported products, which had contributed to less than adequate tax receipts from the manufacturing sector as well as importation of excisable products.

“DTS was sought to aid tax administration to mitigate revenue losses. The DTS implementation status stands at 257% in terms of on boarding taxpayers that were originally scoped to use the DTS at inception of the project; 406 sites have been registered out of the target of One hundred forty 140 sites,” he said.

89 importers of the gazetted products, he said, have been registered against the targeted 33, indicating a 249% performance.

“The DTS implementation for Cement and Sugar which started on 1st April 2021, stands at 55.5% in terms of on boarding local producers scoped to use DTS; 10 sites have been registered out of the target of 18. Importers on the other hand are at one percent with one importer registered out of sixty-nine (69) sites scoped,” he said.

Rumanyika further noted that the number of taxpayers using DTS and contributing to Local Excise Duty (LED) collections has increased significantly with 109 taxpayers on DTS paying LED in April 2021 compared to 43 taxpayers in April 2020, showing a growth rate of 153%.

DTS Revenue Performance

Rumanyika said that DTS has registered an 11.6% year on year growth in LED collections from 211 manufacturers using DTS, in the current FY 2020/21.

He said that the number of taxpayers contributing to LED through DTS has increased from 43 in April 2020 to 109 in April 2021.

Challenges in implementation of DTS

Alcoholic substitutes

Rumanyika told ChimpReports that the alcohol products prescribed for DTS as well as those listed in the second schedule of the Excise Duty Act do not fully exhaust all alcoholic beverages in the market like “Kombucha” products.

“This has led some local producers to hide behind this product and compete unfavourably with a cost advantage due to non-payment of Excise duty or Tax Stamp fees. The new policy changes will address this challenge,” he said.

Stamp forgeries, he said has been mostly manifested in the spirit stamps and this has led to a lot of fake products being found in the market which is a major revenue leakage.

URA, he said, has increased its surveillance and a number of non-compliant entities have been apprehended and fined.

URA recently confiscated over 2000 unstamped products from Bee De Eff (BDF) Spirits Limited, which makes gins and Waragis. The products confiscated include Sports gin, Spark Waragi, and Captain Cherry which were being distributed in the night.

Transition period for cement and Sugar

This, according to Rumanyika, is another huge challenge.  He said that they (URA) are currently at 55% implementation for both manufacturers and importers of cement and sugar.

Shs 39 will be charged on every bag of cement for DTS.

“A three-month transition period was granted to the manufacturers and importers of the prescribed products to register and acquire the digital tax stamps while exhausting any un-stamped products. Thus, enforcement on DTS usage will take effect 1st July 2021 whereby those that have not yet come on board will be asked to account for any un-stamped products we find in the market,” he said.

The post URA Registers 317 Manufacturers on DTS in less Than 2 Years first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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New Zealand’s Hubbard selected as first transgender Olympian | LGBTQ News

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Laurel Hubbard, 43, will compete in the super-heavyweight women’s event in Tokyo.

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics after being selected by New Zealand for the women’s event at the Tokyo Games, a decision set to test the ideal of fair competition in sport.

New Zealand Olympic Committee chief Kereyn Smith said 43-year-old Hubbard – who was assigned male at birth but transitioned to female in 2013 – had met all the qualification criteria for transgender athletes.

“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” Smith said in a statement.

Hubbard will compete in the super-heavyweight 87-kg category after showing testosterone levels below the threshold required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The 43-year-old had competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before transitioning.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard, an intensely private person who rarely speaks to the media, said in a statement issued by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) on Monday.

Hubbard has been eligible to compete at Olympics since 2015, when the IOC issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

Some scientists have said the guidelines do little to mitigate the biological advantages of people who have gone through puberty as males, including bone and muscle density.

Advocates for transgender inclusion argue the process of transition decreases that advantage considerably and that physical differences between athletes mean there is never a truly level playing field.

Save Women’s Sport Australasia, an advocacy group for women athletes, criticised Hubbard’s selection.

“It is flawed policy from the IOC that has allowed the selection of a 43-year-old biological male who identifies as a woman to compete in the female category,” the group said in a statement.

Weightlifting has been at the centre of the debate about the fairness of transgender athletes competing against women, and Hubbard’s presence in Tokyo could prove divisive.

Her gold medal wins at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, where she topped the podium ahead of Samoa’s Commonwealth Games champion Feagaiga Stowers, triggered outrage in the host nation.

Samoa’s weightlifting boss said Hubbard’s selection for Tokyo would be like letting athletes “dope” and feared it could cost the small Pacific nation a medal.

Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen said last month allowing Hubbard to compete at Tokyo was unfair for women and “like a bad joke”.

Australia’s weightlifting federation sought to block Hubbard from competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast but organisers rejected the move.

Hubbard was forced to withdraw after injuring herself during competition, and thought her career was over.

“When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end,” Hubbard said on Monday, thanking New Zealanders.

“But your support, your encouragement, and your aroha (love) carried me through the darkness.”

Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand President Richie Patterson said Hubbard had worked hard to come back from the potentially career-ending injury.

“Laurel has shown grit and perseverance in her return from a significant injury and overcoming the challenges in building back confidence on the competition platform,” he said.

Hubbard is currently ranked 16th in the world in the super heavyweight category.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Apple Daily could shut ‘in days’ after Hong Kong asset freeze | Freedom of the Press News

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Company adviser says action under security law means it cannot access some $50 million in funds to pay staff and vendors.

Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities used the national security law imposed by China to freeze the company’s assets as it arrested the paper’s editor and four other directors, an adviser to jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai told Reuters on Monday.

Mark Simon, speaking by phone from the United States, said the company was no longer able to access its funds and would be holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.

“We thought we’d be able to make it to the end of the month,” Simon told the news agency. “It’s just getting harder and harder. It’s essentially a matter of days.”

His comments signal closure is imminent even after Apple Daily said on Sunday the freezing of its assets had left the newspaper with cash for “a few weeks” for normal operations.”

The news comes two days after editor Ryan Law, 47, and chief executive Cheung Kim-hung, 59, were denied bail after being charged under the security law with collusion with foreign forces.

Apple Daily’s editor-in-chief Ryan Law arrives back at the detention centre after he was remanded in custody on Saturday [Lam Yik/Reuters]

Three other senior executives were also arrested last Thursday when 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s offices in a case that has drawn condemnation from Western nations, human rights groups and the chief United Nations spokesperson for human rights.

The three have been released on bail.

Simon told Reuters it had become impossible to conduct banking operations.

“Vendors tried to put money into our accounts and were rejected. We can’t bank. Some vendors tried to do that as a favour. We just wanted to find out and it was rejected,” he said.

Speaking earlier to US news channel CNN, Simon said the company had about $50 million available, but was unable to access the funds.

The publisher has come under increasing pressure since its owner Jimmy Lai was arrested under the national security law last August, which marked the first time the company’s headquarters was raided. Lai, 73, is now jailed and facing trial under the national security law. In May, the authorities also froze some assets belonging to the longtime critic of Beijing has also had some of his assets frozen.

Three companies related to Apple Daily are also being prosecuted for collusion with a foreign country and authorities have frozen HK$18 million ($2.3 million) of their assets.

China imposed the national security law on Hong Kong last June saying it was necessary to restore “stability” to a territory that had been rocked by mass protests in 2019, some of which turned violent.

The broadly-worded law criminalises acts such as subversion, sedition, collusion with foreign forces and secession with possible life imprisonment, but critics have said it is being used to suppress legitimate political debate with dozens of pro-democracy politicians and activists among the more than 100 arrested since it was brought into force.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Birmingham Classic: Ons Jabeur beats Daria Kasatkina to win first title

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Tunisian second seed Ons Jabeur defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in straight sets to win her first singles title at the Birmingham Classic.

World number 24 Jabeur triumphed 7-5 6-4 against the fourth seed to become the first Arab woman to win a WTA title.

In Berlin, Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova stunned Swiss fifth seed Belinda Bencic to win her first title.

The 22-year-old world number 106 battled back from a set down to win 1-6 6-1 6-3 in her first final.

Victories for Jabeur and Samsonova mean there have now been 10 first-time singles winners on the women’s Tour this year.

Jabeur broke Kasatkina’s serve three times to prevail in the first set, before successive breaks at the start of the second put the 26-year-old in control at 4-0.

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Kasatkina recovered to 4-3, but Jabeur held on to win a singles final at the third attempt.

It was a breakthrough week for Samsonova in Germany, during which she also defeated seventh seed Victoria Azarenka of Belaurus in the semi-final.

World number 12 Bencic won the first five games as she dominated the opening set, but Samsonova matched that feat in the second before completing her comeback with breaks in the first and ninth games in the deciding set.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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