Brunei - govt raises tobacco tax effective November 1, 2010.

November 1, 2010 - $5 duty per pack of 20 cigarettes effective today.. Travellers banned from bringing in duty free cigarettes. Under the second schedule of the order, travellers entering the country will no longer be allowed to bring in duty free cigarettes. Up till now those above the age of 17 have been allowed to bring in up to 200 sticks duty free.

According to a Ministry of Finance press release, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented amendments to excise duties for cigarettes, tobacco and tobacco products through the Customs Import Duties (Amendment) Order 2010 and Excise Duties (Amendment) Order 2010. The Ministry of Finance, announcing this through a press release yesterday, said by the command of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the amendments were implemented in the interests of the health and well-being of the people, especially in helping to reduce the risk of chronic diseases related to smoking.

Under the new amendments, cigarettes will be subjected to $0.25 tax per cigarette stick compared to the previous $60 per kilogramme whilst non-manufactured tobacco and tobacco refuse will be subjected to duties totalling $60 per kilogramme compared to the previous $30 per kilogramme. This means that the excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes will be $5.

Cigar, cheroots and cigarillos will also see an increase in duties from $60 per kilogramme to $120 per kilogramme and from $100 per kilogramme to $200 per kilogramme.

The press release also stated that those arriving in the Sultanate from any point of entry into the country, who is over the age of 17 and carrying with them not more than 200 sticks of cigarettes, will be exempted from import duties.

This move comes in the wake of recent enforcement conducted by the Ministry of Health officers in curbing public smoking that aims to safeguard the health of the citizens from contracting chronic diseases related to smoking.

Under the Customs Order 2006, the press release further said, the Royal Customs and Excise Department will undertake appropriate legal action upon any violations under the new amendment such as the failure to declare tobacco products at entry points into the country and other related offences.

As for "unmanufactured tobacco and tobacco refuse" the duty will be raised from $30 per kg to $60 per kg. For other "manufactured tobacco" the duty will be raised to $35 per kg. This refers to manufactured tobacco blended for cigarette making but not finished products. For tobacco blended for retail sale, duty is raised from $60 per kg to $120 a kg.

References: Govt raises tobacco tax to curb smoking, BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, The Brunei Times, 11/1/2010; Steep Rise In Cigarette Prices, Borneo Bulletin, 11/1/2010.

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