Kazakhstan launches mobile app to fight illicit alcohol

A mobile app has been rolled out in Kazakhstan to help the government crack down on the trade in counterfeit and otherwise illegal alcohol.

The new app – called e-Sapa – was developed by the Kazakh National Information Technologies Agency (NITEC) and can be used to check the legality of alcoholic products by scanning a barcode on tax stamps bearing 2D datamatrix or PDF-417 stacked linear barcodes, or entering the data manually.

One scanned, the app returns information on the name of the product and its manufacturer, if genuine, and delivers a warning if the code is invalid. So far it has been used to verify 5,384 excisable alcoholic products sold in Kazakhstan.

Developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance’s State Revenue Committee, e-Sapa is intended to stop the sale of alcoholic products with stamps from unidentified companies as well as to prevent the sale of illicit alcoholic products, says the Kazakh government.

The KazAlcoTabak industry association estimates that around 40 per cent of alcohol sold in Kazakhstan is counterfeit or illegal, according to the Atameken, the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Use of the e-Sapa platform for alcohol comes after Kazakhstan started using it in 2018 to monitor the fossil fuel sector, from oil refinery to petrol station. In this case it is used to track the volume of oil products entered into the supply chain.

The app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

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