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August 2, 2019

‘Track and trace’ system demanded for tobacco products


August 2, 2019

Islamabad: Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organised a session on 'track and trace system of tobacco products' here.

Tariq Hussain Sheikh, project director (Track and Trace System), said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is moving ahead towards the installation of software on the premises of legitimate cigarette manufacturers to gauge real production through pasting of stamps in a bid to stop the sale of illicit brands into the market.

He said the broader contours of the track and trace system revealed that the semi-visible security features shall be available to the wholesalers and distributors and the field formations shall be able to authenticate the genuineness of any tax stamp.

Malik Imran of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Pakistan office, said the track and trace system was a digital solution, whereby the production of goods was digitally monitored in near real-time.

He said in order to check the evasion of duty and taxes, the revenue authorities around the world were using the system. "Almost in all European and Far Eastern and even in some African countries have installed the system to monitor the excisable goods, especially tobacco. In Pakistan, we also need to implement this system," he said.

Dr Ziauddin Islam, technical head of Tobacco Control Cell at the Ministry of National Health Services, said the broader contours of the track and trace system also revealed that the system would ensure full government control and monitoring of production lines and systematic authentication and validation of unique codes for each manufactured products.

He said the track and trace system would ensure systematic recognition and verification of stock-keeping units and real-time collection of production data and actualised consolidated transmission to the FBR.

Sajjad Ahmad Cheema, executive director of SPARC, favoured the track and trace system said it would ensure uninterrupted and autonomous data collection along production lines and non-intrusive equipment with no impact on production speed and production capacity.

He added that the track and trace system would ensure encrypted communication with a central database, remote monitoring of tax stamps application equipment, inspection through handheld wireless electronic devices and online activation of codes.

Chaudhry Sanaullah Ghuman, general secretary at the Pakistan Heart Association, said the track and trace system would ensure the provisions of consumer authentication through smart phones, automated forecasting of tax revenues, production control reports, risk assessment, behaviour and compliance management.

He said under the track and trace system, the database would be designed with backup mirror sites, disaster recovery plan and redundancy for data protection and database shall collect automatically all production carrying the tax stamps, and the field inspection data. Zahid Shafiq, programme manager at the Human Development Foundation, and Muhammad Javed, project manager at the Tobacco Control Cell, also spoke on the occasion.

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