Government Reports Outstanding Results in Fighting Contraband Trade in Cigarettes


Government Reports Outstanding
Results in Fighting Contraband
Trade in Cigarettes

Sofia, February 26 (BTA) - The government and the judiciary reported Tuesday outstanding results in fighting contraband trade in cigarettes. A special event was held in Sofia to present the results of fighting illicit cigarette trade in the fourth quarter of 2018 based on an empty packs survey. Addressing the forum, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said anti-contraband measures secure hundreds of millions of leva more for the public purse and makes possible an increase of wages for teachers, police, judges, prosecutors "and all the rest".

He said another important conclusion is that the Interior Ministry, border and tax police have adequate capacity to fight illicit trade.

The Prime Minister said that the measures are as tough against the illicit trade in confectionary, meat and excise goods. "This is why between 2014 and 2019 the budget revenues increased by 50 per cent, to 43.9 billion leva from 29.4 million leva," he said.

Controls are as resolute on the fuels market where widespread video surveillance has been introduced to fight contraband trade. "Our goal is to minimize the human factor and we now have 100 per cent control at ports, refineries and fuel outlets," Borissov said. He promised that the results in this sector will be as good several months from now.

Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov recalled the importance of adopting revisions to the Criminal Code to criminalize the production and distribution of illicit cigarettes.

A study by an Initiative against Illicit Trade shows that the share of illicit cigarettes is highest in Haskovo (12 per cent), Pleven (10.7 per cent) and Pernik (9.3 per cent). This share was smallest in Dobrich and Gabrovo (1.3 per cent). In Sofia it was 3.7 per cent.

The study also concludes that fighting illicit trade in cigarettes has proven to be a key priority of this government and this has affected positively the revenues from excise duty on tobacco products: from 2,304 billion leva in 2017 to 2,238 billion in 2017 and 2,536 billion in 2018, which is a record-setting level.

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said that the law-enforcers are checking an alert from the Oil and Gas Association about certain fuel outlets which might be breaking the law.

He also said that checks for illicit cigarettes are done on a daily basis across the country. Cut tobacco is caught almost every day.

The Minister raised the question about the need to provide financial incentives for law-enforcers whose work secures an increase of budget revenue and prevents theft of taxpayers' money. LY/LN/


Source: Sofia