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Tobacco prices unaffected by VAT reduction

 

Jan 10, 2016 11:56:30 PM

Tobacco prices unaffected by VAT reduction There will be no reduction in the price of cigarettes as the present retail price is inclusive of revised Value Added Tax (VAT) rate, says the Consumer Council of Fiji.

Council chief executive Premila Kumar said they have been receiving calls from consumers who feel the current cigarette price is not reduced by 6% as a result of VAT reduction that came into effect on 1 January 2016 and amidst growing confusion over the price transition in the marketplace, the Council would like to clarify that the current retail price of the cigarette accounts for increase in excise tax (12.5%), the addition of the health levy (6%) on tobacco products and the reduction of VAT by 6 per cent.

She said this revised retail price had come into effect on 9 November 2015 and this is the reason why there was no further price change from 1 January 2016 as the VAT reduction had already been factored into the price change from 9 November 2015.

“The retail price of the locally produced cigarettes is set by British, American Tobacco Fiji (BAT) in the Fijian market and all retail outlets were notified of the price change of the cigarettes on 9 November 2015.”

“It is worth noting that BAT was bearing the cost of the VAT difference from 9 November 2015 to 31 December 2015. It is understood that this move was made to avoid change of prices twice within a two month- period, to allow smooth transition to the new pricing.”

Ms Kumar added that consumers should also be mindful that cigarette is not a price controlled item; therefore, some retailers may be selling the product at a higher price.

The Council reiterates that consumers should indulge in comparative shopping to get the best retail price for their cigarettes and both the consumers and the retailers are urged to contact the Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority or BAT for clarity on the price issue.
The recommended selling price for a pack of 10 Rothmans brand cigarette is $5.90 while a pack of 20 is recommended to sell at $11.40.

The recommended selling price for a pack of 10 Benson and Hedges (Menthol and Filter) is $5.50 and consumers are expected to pay $10.60 for a pack of 20 (Filter, Menthol and Smooth) Benson and Hedges.

A pack of 10 Pall Mall (Filter and Menthol) has a recommended selling price of $4.90 while a 20 pack is recommended to sell at $9.60.

By Reginald Chandar
 

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