Saturday, 25 November 2017

Afghan Government collected more than 1.4 billion Afghanis (about USD 21,000,000) from 'Cigarette Tax'

Figures from Central Statistics Office show that Afghanistan imports cigarettes from 10 countries and exports part of it to Central Asian nations. The Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan says more than 1.4 billion AFs (over USD 20.7 million) has been collected from tobacco tax since the beginning of this fiscal year, December 2016 to December 2017. Figures from Central Statistics Office indicate that Afghan investors have spent more than USD 54 million on cigarette imports in the past six months while this amount was up to USD 50 million last year. “We had 963 million AFs – over USD 13.9 million (from tobacco tax) in 1395 (Persian year) but in the past 11 months, we have collected 1.430 billion AFs as the tobacco tax revenue. This is an income source for Afghan government,” said an official at the Ministry of Finance. Earlier this year, the Lower House of Afghan Parliament decided to increase the tobacco tax by 100%. However, the decision was rejected by Meshrano Jirga, the Upper House of Parliament. “First, it was not in the interest of the country and second, as I mentioned, there was no decree from president (Ashraf Ghani) or there was no letter from Ministry of Finance. It was the personal demand of a number of lawmakers to increase the cigarette tax; therefore, it was rejected by senators,” said the deputy secretary of Meshrano Jirga. According to Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, part of the imported cigarettes is sent to other countries in the region. “If the tariff increases by 100%, it will have many damages. First, it will grab employment from the people, second, it will pave the ground for smuggling and third, it will decrease government’s revenue from cigarette imports,”  said the spokesman of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries.