Bulgaria Faces Loss of BGN Billions over Cigarette Contraband

Finance | September 19, 2010, Sunday // 13:51|  views

The Chair of the Bulgarian nationalist VMRO-NIE party, Petko Atanasov, warns about dangers for the budget and the health of smokers over the increased cigarette contraband. Photo by BGNES

The consumption of cigarettes, manufactured in Bulgaria or legally imported is down two times, according to the Chair of the nationalist VMRO-NIE party, Petko Atanasov.

Atanasov, who spoke during a special press conference Sunday, said the monthly losses for the treasury from cigarette contraband amount to BGN 100 M, which will lead to an annual loss of BGN 1.2 B in unpaid excise duties.

Over 100 cigarette brands, currently on the country's market, are without paid excise while 70 of them have murky origin and unknown manufacturers, according to Atanasov, who pointed out this is very dangerous for smokers – lab tests have revealed that four brands have elevated levels of nicotine and cellulose, making them toxic and even deadly.

Atansov said the way to solve the staggering problem with cigarette contraband is to lower the excise tax levels to the ones from last year, which will make Bulgarian cigarettes more competitive and will limit the exodus of people from traditional tobacco growing regions in the country.

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Tags: VMRO-NIE, Petko Atanasov, budget, smokers cigarette contraband, excise


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