Cape Town – British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) on Thursday said he ongoing ban on tobacco sales was costing the government R35million in taxes daily and should be lifted immediately.
“After 118 days of lockdown, the ban on tobacco products sales has now cost over R4 billion in excise taxes alone and substantial job losses,” said Batsa.
In a statement, BATSA follows the release of a study report by academics at the University of the Western Cape that concluded that extending the ban beyond the beginning of May, when the country’s hard Covid-19 lockdown was lifted, had proven a bonanza for the black market, while delivering negligible public health benefits.
“BATSA fully supports the unequivocal recommendation from the Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products (REEP) report’s authors for an immediate lifting of the tobacco products ban,” said the manufacturer.
According to the report, 93 percent of the country’s smokers are still able to buy cigarettes, “meaning that millions of illegal transactions are taking place across the country every day”.
“The market has been completely taken over by illicit cigarette suppliers at the expense of law-abiding and tax compliant manufacturers, like BATSA, and the fiscus continues to lose R35m in taxes every single day,” the company added.