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Plans to step up oversight over tobacco trade in Belarus in anticipation of higher revenues

Economy 10.12.2019 | 14:10
Maksim Yermolovich
Maksim Yermolovich

MINSK, 10 December (BelTA) – The state expects higher revenues from the tobacco industry in 2020 and intends to step up oversight over trade in tobacco products on the home market, BelTA learned from Belarusian Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich after the government conference held by the head of state on 10 December to discuss ways to bolster the performance of the tobacco industry.

Higher revenues from the tobacco industry are part of the next year's state budget. “They should be accompanied by tougher oversight over the turnover of such products on the home market,” the official believes. Maksim Yermolovich noted the state budget gets quite a lot of money from the tobacco industry. “We get over Br800 million in excise duties on tobacco products. We receive a total of over Br1.2 billion in various taxes and fees paid by tobacco manufacturers,” the finance minister continued. The head of state wants to gradually increase these revenues taking into account the capacity of the home market.

“We want this sector to operate exclusively under the state oversight. We want to satisfy the domestic demand primarily with domestic products in order to be able to control prices on the home market. This industry brings a lot of money to the state budget,” Maksim Yermolovich explained. “The budget heavily depends on the performance of this sector and its wellbeing.”

“We are gradually raising budget revenues from sales of tobacco products on the home market. It is necessary to continue this dynamics in order to secure the revenues the budget is supposed to get. We have to eradicate tax evasion, any facts of illegal trade, and have to secure proper workload of the tobacco factories,” the official noted. Maksim Yermolovich reminded the Finance Ministry is responsible for replenishing the state budget. “Respectively tougher oversight over this sector [tobacco industry] will be in place next year,” he added.

Plans have been made to raise rates of excise duties on tobacco products by 15% in 2020. In turn, it will slightly increase prices for tobacco products. “Meanwhile, we are not going to arrange some price shocks. We are not going to increase the inflationary pressure on the national economy,” the finance minister stressed.

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