‘Illegal tobacco industry volume surpasses legal business’

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ISLAMABAD:  The volume of the illegal cigarette industry has reached the highest level during the last decade and surpassed the volume of the legal sector, ARY News reported citing Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC) sources.

According to current statistics, 51.4 billion illegal cigarettes sticks are being sold in Pakistan while the volume of the legal cigarette industry has decreased to 29.6 billion cigarettes sticks.

It has been revealed that Illegal sector is using fake tax stamps on cigarette packets. While demanding strict action against illegal cigarettes, the PTC said that track and trace could not be implemented in local cigarette factories in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.

The sources said that more than 42.5 million packets of fake tax stamp cigarette are being sold in the market. The PTC maintained that unbalanced government policies and illegal trade are harming the legal industry.

Read More: Fake cigarettes cause Rs5.7 billion loss every year

The PTC sources revealed that the volume of illegal trade is being shown in a lesser amount to serve a specific agenda. “The actual figures and ground realities differ from official FBR figures,” the PTC said.

It demanded strict action against illegal cigarette traders.

Earlier on January 18 it was reported that approximately Rs. 5.7 billion are lost every year as fake cigarettes are being sold, evading duties and taxes.

The sources said that a large quantity of fake or non-duty paid cigarettes are still being sold in the market as they possess fake tax stamp the packets.

More than 42.5 million counterfeit tax stamp cigarettes are in the market. Currently, only two cigarette companies are fully implementing the track and trace systems.

The industry sources demanded that all cigarette manufacturing companies should strictly implement track and trace systems.

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