From: NACS Online
The Greek state loses up to 400 million euros annually in tax revenue because of a thriving black market cigarette trade.
ATHENS – The Greek state loses up to 400 million euros annually in tax revenue from a thriving cigarette smuggling trade, an amount that equals pension payments for civil servants for an entire month, or 860,000 unemployment benefits, the Athens News Agency reports.
Nikitas Theofilopoulos, chairman and CEO of the Papastratos Group, a Greek cigarette manufacturer, said during a news conference last week that cigarette smuggling and consumption increased to 13.2% in April 2012. He said that cigarette consumption totaled 26.8 billion cigarettes in 2011, down 8.4% from 2010, or 10.1% of total consumption in the country — five times more compared with a 2.2% figure recorded in 2008, writes the news source.
Greece recorded the second largest percentage increase in illegal cigarettes in the European Union — 3.8 percentage points in 2011 — and an April 2012 survey showed that the illegal cigarette market is expected to surpass 13% this year.
Theofilopoulos said the black market cigarette trade contributes to lower state revenue, more job losses and lost turnover for the industry, as well as unfair competition and criminal activities in the country. He stressed that an integrated policy to combat the country’s illegal cigarette trade is necessary.