Tunisia: 1 cigarette out of 4 is consumed illegally | Tunisia News Gazette

Tunisia: 1 cigarette out of 4 is consumed illegally

“In Tunisia, 1 out of 4 cigarettes are consumed illegally,” according to a study entitled “Illicit consumption of cigarettes in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya”, published Wednesday by KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services.

According to this document, out of a total of 18.98 billion cigarettes consumed in 2016, in Tunisia, 4.64 billion cigarettes are smuggled. “If this volume of cigarettes had been consumed legally, additional revenues in the order of $ 219 million would have been collected by Tunisia.”

However, this study shows that the flow of illegal cigarettes entering Tunisia decreased by 35% between 2015 and 2016, due to “the country’s dynamic policy to reduce illegal Cigarettes, by the adoption of strict control of trucks at the borders “.

For the countries of the Maghreb, this study also revealed that 1 out of 5 cigarettes is consumed illegally. Parallel trade has weakened state revenues in the Maghreb countries by depriving them of a tax revenue of $ 565 million in 2016.

It showed that cigarette smuggling was only one component of a vast network of illegal trade, where products such as fuel and food pass illegally, the borders to be resold at lower prices.

The four countries of the Maghreb subsidize basic commodities such as bread, sugar, building materials, thus creating price differences that encourage the smuggling of goods into neighbouring countries.

The study found that more than 7 billion illicit cigarettes originating in the United Arab Emirates’s free zones originated mostly in Libya without paying taxes and that the largest volume of illicit cigarette consumption was identified in Libya, where 93 % of cigarettes consumed are illegal.

She noted that efforts to reduce cigarette smuggling in 2016 appear to have contributed to a decline in the overall volume of illicit cigarettes throughout the Maghreb region from 17 billion to 13 billion cigarettes between 2015 and 2016.

Besides, price differences encourage the movement of cigarettes from Algeria to neighboring countries. By 2016, more than 5 billion cigarettes were shipped to other destinations. However, the report indicates a decline in cigarette smuggling in 2016, following the strengthening of border security.

Source: TAP news Agency

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