BAT Uganda Calls For Urgent Government Action Against Illicit Trade In Cigarettes

BAT Uganda Calls For Urgent Government Action Against Illicit Trade In Cigarettes

BAT Uganda has called for enhanced action against illicit trade in Uganda, following a report, which indicates that the illicit cigarette trade in the country continues to rise significantly.

The research commissioned by BAT Uganda and conducted by Kantar covered the second half of 2021 and found that 23.8 per cent of the cigarettes sold in Uganda appear to be illicit.

Further, the Kantar research found that more than half of the illicit cigarettes (51 per cent) in the market appear to be manufactured in Uganda based on pack markings, with the rest being smuggled into Uganda from other countries.

Similar research conducted in Kenya also found that Uganda is a major source of illicit cigarettes in neighbouring countries, with 93 per cent of illicit cigarettes found in Kenya believed to originate from Uganda.

These illicit cigarettes are typically branded ‘Supermatch’, though the report makes no claim as to the actual manufacturer of each pack and bases its findings solely on the observable features of the packet.

BAT Uganda Chairman, Elly Karuhanga said the firm is concerned that illicit trade in cigarettes is allowed to thrive in the country despite the various negative impacts, which include fuelling organised crime.

“While we acknowledge efforts thus far by the Uganda Revenue Authority in tackling this serious issue, including through the introduction of the Digital Tax Stamps System, much more needs to be done,“ he said.

“We are calling on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Martin Okoth Ochola, the Commissioner General of the Uganda Revenue Authority, Mr. John Rujoki Musinguzi, the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Executive Director of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru, all concerned security and local government agencies, as well as the Uganda Administration, to enhance enforcement against illicit trade in the tobacco industry.

Alongside calls for greater collaboration, BAT Uganda detailed a multipronged approach to combat illicit trade, including full enforcement of tobacco product and packaging regulations across the tobacco industry couoled with tighter border controls.

BAT Uganda also called for proper implementation of the Digital Tax Stamps Solution (DTS). This includes stronger enforcement to prevent under-declaration of local factory production and ensuring that only fully duty-paid products with tax stamps are sold in the Ugandan market.

Source: Capital Fm