British American Tobacco SA (BATSA), one of South Africa’s largest tobacco companies, has called on the government to introduce a new minimum price for cigarettes in the country.
In a statement released Wednesday, November 10, BATSA said a new floor price would help fight illegal suppliers and improve tax collection in the country.
A investigation Ipsos market research published on Tuesday found that two-thirds of stores in four provinces of the hotspot sell cigarettes below the minimum collection tax (MCT) level of R21.60 per pack of 20.
Research shows that some of the cheapest cigarette packs that can be bought in South Africa today include:
- Liberty – R18
- Ecco Nano – R18
- Roxbury – R10 and R15
- Chef – R10 to R18
- GMB – R10
“BATSA demands a legal minimum selling price for cigarettes of R28 per pack this would allow the police to seize illegal cigarettes more effectively and provide advice to consumers to differentiate between legal and illegal products, ”said BATSA Managing Director Johnny Moloto.
“SARS officials told MPs on Tuesday that the biggest problem was not smuggling, but illicit cigarettes produced in this country. They know the problem and should know who is responsible. Instead of giving up in desperation, they should follow the money and catch the criminals who are stealing billions from our besieged economy, ”he said.
He added that the production meter rules were instituted over a year ago and that should mean that all manufacturers are responsible for every cigarette they make. Yet SARS does not appear to adequately enforce its policy that would ensure compliance with these regulations, he said.
“SARS released draft CCTV camera rules for public comment two months ago. “We call on SARS to implement these rules from January 2022 instead of June 2022 to strengthen the control of local production.”
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