From: Focus News Agency
Sofia. The share of the illegal cigarette market in Bulgaria is 15.3% by mid-2012. These are the results of a study carried by an independent market research agency commissioned by the tobacco companies participating in the initiative Combating illegal Trade in Cigarettes. These data were presented today at a special meeting with the Minister of Finance Simeon Dyankov and Director of the National Customs Agency (NCA) Vanyo Tanov, press office of NCA announced.
According to the study, the positive trend of reducing illegal products continued for the second consecutive year from 34.5% in 2010, 23.3% in 2011 to 15.3 % by the middle of this year. This is due to the government’s policy to maintain the excise duty on cigarettes at a stable level since 2010 and the ongoing work of the government institutions in the fight against smuggling. Despite the good results reported now, the competent authorities must continue to fight against illegal trade and ensuring a sustainable environment for legitimate businesses. During the meeting industry representatives expressed their full support for the confirmed by Simeon Dyankov intention of the government to preserve the stability of excise duty in 2013. The companies stressed the importance of ensuring predictability of the business environment and avoid unexpected and abrupt changes in tax policy.
According to the tobacco companies one of the most effective measures against illegal trade would be a longer timetable for a gradual and progressive increase in excise duty from 2014 until 2018, when Bulgaria to reach minimum levels of excise duty on cigarettes in the EU of EUR 90 for 1000 pieces of cigarettes. During the meeting, Simeon Dyankov said: “We do not intend to change the excise duty on cigarettes in 2013. My opinion is that we can reach levels agreed with the EU to change in excise duty in 2016 – 2017.”
Director of the National Customs Agency Vanyo Tanov thanked the representatives of the Initiative for the study and said he was happy with his results. They show that the spread of illegal cigarettes has fallen below the level of 2009 and prove that the commitment made by the customs administration to clear results in the fight against tobacco smuggling is carried out. Tanev said that with the assistance of Deputy Prime Minister Dyankov were made investments for technical support of the fight against illegal distribution of cigarettes and gave as an example the purchase of eight new X-ray scanning systems. The Director of the Customs Agency stressed that there is a clear vision for the next steps that will focus on thwarting smuggling through railway transport. “Our struggle continues and I am convinced that next year the share of smuggled cigarettes will continue to steadily fall,” Vanyo Tanov said further.