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Tobacco Importers Prepare Themselves for Excise Tax Increase

Published: August 30, 2013 | 11:19 am
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How are the importers of tobacco preparing themselves for the excise tax increase? Following a decision by the Health Ministry and the Finance Ministry, excise tax on filtered cigarettes will increase by 15 tetri from 1 September. Nikoloz Mchedlishvili, a spokesman for the company GTI Caucasus, has told TV3 that the government should be aware of the risks of cigarette contraband increasing parallel to the increase in excise tax. He also states that the increase in cigarette contraband will damage the state budget. Fears of an increase in cigarette contraband have been echoed by Elza Jmukhadze, the chief lawyer of the company Elizi Group. According to her, a flood of contraband cigarettes could lead to bankruptcy of tobacco importing companies. Ms. Jmukhadze also states that it is necessary for the importers to develop a common working strategy.
A Finance Ministry spokesman has described the tobacco importers’ claims as unfounded. According to him, the risks of an increase in contraband as a result of the excise tax increase have been analysed, and work in this direction will continue. The spokesman adds that the tax increase measure aims, among others, to bring the country in line with the Tobacco Control Convention regulations.

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