Bulgaria - politician wants to lower tax on cigarettes to reduce contraband..

September 20, 2010 - 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.

A new nationalist political party has been set up in Bulgaria after the VMRO party split in two over internal dissent. The new party is called “VMRO-NIE”, a Bulgarian acronym for “Faith, Moral, Patriotism, Responsibility – National Ideal for Unity”. The Deputy Mayor of Plovdiv, Petko Atanasov, has become the chair of the new party on Sunday, after the party got its court registration earlier in the week, the BGNES news agency reported. (New Nationalist Party Born in Bulgaria after VMRO Breakup, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency), 3/14/2010.)
Atanasov, who spoke during a special press conference Sunday, September 19th 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. (1.00 BGN = 0.668 USD)

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.

It is interesting to note As part of a bid to increase government revenues Bulgaria's Finance Minister Simeon Djankov has proposed a tax hikes on certain cigarettes..

We all await the World Health Organization's (WHO) solution to the problem of tobacco product smuggling faced by countries throughout the world..

Reference: Bulgaria Faces Loss of BGN Billions over Cigarette Contraband, Novinite.com, 9/19/2010.

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