Sofia Echo


Smuggled cigarettes inundate Bulgarian market - report

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Fri, Feb 19 2010 4 Comments, 6325 Views
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Smuggled cigarettes accounted for half of the total amount sold in Bulgaria, Bulgarian mass-circulation daily 24 Chassa has claimed, citing unnamed sources in the tobacco industry.

The daily cited excise figures, which said that duties were paid on 17.2 billion cigarettes in 2009, while actual imports stood at 22.5 billion. Smuggling cost Bulgaria about 600 million leva in lost revenue from unpaid excise duties every year.

The daily quoted unnamed industry sources saying that the increase in the cigarette smuggling was caused by the increase in the excise duty, which rose from 53 euro for 1000 cigarettes to 76 euro for 1000 cigarettes in January.

The change has not taken effect for most brands yet because the quantities with the old excise stamp have not been exhausted, but the higher prices were expected to hit the market in March. The most popular domestic brand, Victory, is expected to rise from 3.60 leva to 4.60 leva.

The newspaper forecast that the trend recorded in December 2009 and January 2010, when excise duties declined by 12 per cent, would continue, though not because Bulgarians quit smoking, but because of further increase in smuggling.

Bulgarian authorities seized a container with about 10 million Bulgarian cigarettes on February 16, which were legally exported and were then to be smuggled back into the country through the port of Varna.

According to the daily, one of the main smuggling routes passed through the port of Mersin in southern Turkey, from where the cigarettes were brought back into Bulgaria in containers by sea using false papers and with bribes to the ship's crew, customs and police officers. Over land, the borders with Serbia and Turkey saw the highest amount of smuggling, 24 Chassa said.

Although Bulgarian cigarette-makers have often complained about the Government's inaction in stopping smuggling, but according to Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov, some Bulgarian producers dabbled in it themselves.

Bulgaria's Customs Agency, which collects the excise duties, started a check of all warehouses to investigate possible discrepancies and should any be found, heavy fines would be imposed, Dyankov was quoted as saying.

  • Sales of local cigarette brands in Bulgaria continue to decline
  • European Commission, Imperial Tobacco sign agreement against illicit trade in tobacco
  • Bulgaria's new cigarette prices come into force
  • Bulgaria's smoking ban reversal temporary, Finance Minister says
  • Bulgarian alcohol and cigarette producers to come under close surveillance
    • Anonymous neutral
      #4 01, 33, Fri, Mar 12 2010

      I feel the discount coupons belongs to either Phillip Morris group and its promoter trying to promote Marlboro brand without knowing the magnitude of above articles. The above says about the racket evading taxes with kick bag smuggluging trying to make fool of government who loose their revenue get trade balanced by approving the export but on the other when the same cigarettes enters back illegally then offcourse they loose revenue. this practise is merely impossible without helps of govenment officials who are assigned to protect their border.

    • Anonymous1Sat, Feb 20 2010

      This comment has been removed by the moderator because it contained

    • Anonymous neutral
      #2 11, 24, Sat, Feb 20 2010

      It is a fact that cigarette smoking is injurious to health but if you go with reputed brand like Marlboro then the harm is less as compared to harm which other cheap and harmful cigarettes can do. It is so because Marlboro's quality standards are high and it uses the right nicotine content and menthol which gives the real pleasure of smoking. In addition with the help of discount coupons you can even buy them very cheap.

    • Profile preview
      LEONARD WELLS Rating: 8
      #1 18, 31, Fri, Feb 19 2010

      Give up smoking! It is often hard to appreciate why anyone would want to offer another human being something like tobacco which they know brings an early and painful death! Why burn money just to kill yourself?
      But we are all a bit nuts because the EU subsidises tobacco growing yet penalises smokers to stop us smoking!
      Nicotine is the MOST addictive substance on this planet. It took me 40 years to quit -I tried every way known to man and failed. Then I prayed to God for a month and it left me!

      Read the full comment With God NOTHING is impossible!

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