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New contraband cigarette crack down yielding ‘results’ in Bulgaria

| December 31, 2012

The measures Bulgaria has taken to fight cigarette smuggling are yielding results, according to a story by Svetla Dimitrova for the Southeast European Times quoting the national Customs Agency.

A total of 80 million contraband cigarettes were said to have been seized since the beginning of this year, but there was no mention of whether this figure was up or down on that of the previous year.

And the agency reported that a total of 691 pre-trial proceedings were launched between January and October 2012, but again there was no mention of whether this was up or down on the figure recorded during the equivalent period of 2011.

There was a 7.5 per cent year-on-year increase in revenues from the excise duty on tobacco products and this, the agency said, showed that the measures the customs administration had taken in the fight against the illicit cigarette trade had been effective. There was no mention, however, whether the rate of tobacco excise duties had been increased during the period under consideration.

‘Regular meetings with big manufacturers and traders of tobacco goods’ were said to have comprised one of a host of measures initiated by the customs administration as part of an increased effort in the fight against cigarette smuggling.

And nearly 900 staff members, or a third of customs personnel, had been dismissed during the past three years, while up to 700 new staff had been hired through an open and transparent procedure.

More than 500,000 Bulgarians said in a June survey that that they bought contraband cigarettes, and would continue to do so.

This is not surprising. A 67-year-old pensioner who has been smoking for nearly five decades was quoted as saying that he bought contraband cigarettes because he could not afford licit ones.

Category: Breaking News

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