WITCO slams new cigarette tax

“Obviously, we would have preferred to not go through this pain, because even as (Finance Minister Colm Imbert) said, there are still lots of black market products on the market...

I would have thought if they were aware of the problem they would have fixed it and then implemented taxes,” WITCO Managing Director Jean-Pierre DuCoudray told Newsday.

In his Budget address yesterday, Imbert said the proposed increase– along with a 20 percent increase in alcohol sales– would net the Government approximately $60 million. DuCoudray said the added tax would only make the black market problem even bigger. The company already pays $3.88 per 20-pack of cigarettes. A pack of DuMaurier, one of the company’s best known brands, retails for about $28 while smuggled brands are $12 to $15.

“The Minister mentioned the black market, and that he was aware of the problem and that he has plans to address it but he didn’t say what they were and how long it would take, but he went ahead and raised the taxes anyway,” DuCoudray said. The industry is already hit by high commodity prices– up nearly 14 percent in 2015– so this is an additional blow. In 2015 WITCO paid $450 million in taxes, including customs duties, value added tax and corporation tax– or 55 percent of total revenue, DuCoudray said It also employs over 200 people, is a net foreign exchange earner, and one of the largest manufacturers in the country– the one sector of the economy Minister Imbert said was holding its own, he added.

“So you’d think that a little more love would have been shown,” he said.


"WITCO slams new cigarette tax"

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