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Is decreased tobacco excise just a rumor?

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Writes: M.Dušević

Even though the public can’t wait to find out more about excise taxes, the Ministry of Finance seems to avoid answering the question whether there’d be a decrease in tobacco excise taxes and if yes, when to expect it? CdM wanted to find out more about these rumors and therefore contacted the relevant Ministry, but we still have no answer.

Reports suggest there’s a drop in legal cigarette sales, whereas the illegal tobacco trade is flourishing.

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) parliament member, Draginja Vuksanović, claims that sharp jump in cigarette excise taxes contributed to a massive jump in prices over a year and a half, and we may blame the govt’s wrong policy in this area for consequences.

“First of all, the budget revenues decreased by almost 25% despite the 70% increase in prices, due to VAT and excise taxes. Secondly, legal tobacco sales have dropped and according to data of the Tobacco Agency, we legally sold 131,51 tons of cigarettes, which is twice less than in the same period last year. Last year, we managed to sell 264,59 tons of cigarettes in 4 months,” Vuksanović claimed for CdM.

In her opinion, Montenegro again takes the first place in Europe when it comes to cigarette smuggling.

“Due to the obvious lack of knowledge in the Ministry of Finance and the Government of Montenegro, the SDP will submit the proposal for the Law on Excises in the Parliament next week, and we intend to propose decrease in excise taxes. Our aim is to increase budget revenues and abate illegal tobacco sales, and that’s why we need intensified inspections,” concluded Vuksanović.

Meanwhile, let me remind you of Minister Radunović’s recent statement:

“In case it proves that our excise policy causes inequalities or unsustainable conditions for the parties which participate in tobacco sales, we shall change the existing tax rates as we ourselves wouldn’t like to have decreased revenues from tobacco excise taxes,” said Minister Radunović.

 

 

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