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Indonesia wary that excise hike would hit smoking

| July 16, 2015

In a reversal of the received wisdom on tobacco tax, the Indonesian government has said that it will not be increasing excise on cigarettes because such a rise might make them unaffordable for many people, according to a story in The Jakarta Globe.

The director general of the Finance Ministry’s Directorate General of Customs (DGC), Heru Pambudi, was quoted as saying that care had to be taken in respect of imposing higher tariffs when cigarette production was declining.

If tariffs were raised, some consumers would not be able to afford cigarettes and production would decline even further. A drop in cigarette production was one of three factors that would hurt overall customs and excise revenue this year.

The DGC, which has raised its revenue target from tobacco excise this year despite missing last year’s target, says that for now it will try only to ensure tobacco companies complied with their excise obligations.

The customs office earned Rp112 trillion ($8.41 billion) from tobacco excise in 2014, short of its target of Rp116 trillion. This year, it has raised its target by more than a quarter to Rp142 trillion.

Nepal’s cigarette excise duty raised “slightly”

| July 16, 2015

An excise duty-increase will raise the prices of cigarettes in Nepal from tomorrow, according to a Republica story. A similar increase will affect also alcohol.

The budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16, which the Minister for Finance Ram Sharan Mahat presented on Tuesday, raised the excise duty on cigarettes by up to 11 percent and that on alcohol by up to 10 percent.

The government increased the excise duties on cigarettes and alcohol last year also.

“Though tax rates on most of the products have been left unchanged, the government has slightly increased excise duty on cigarette and liquor,” the Revenue Secretary Nabaraj Bhandari was said to have told Republica.

Altria to host second quarter results webcast

| July 16, 2015

The Altria Group is due to host a live audio webcast at from 09.00 Eastern Time on July 29 to discuss its 2015 second-quarter business results. The company will issue a results press note about 07.00 on the same day.

During the webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, chairman, CEO and president, Marty Barrington, and CFO, Billy Gifford, will discuss the results and answer questions from the investment community and news media.

Pre-event registration is necessary, and possible through directions posted at

An archived copy of the webcast will be available on or through the Altria Investor App. The free app is available for download at or through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

ITC board member to sit on RAI board

| July 16, 2015

Reynolds American Inc. said yesterday that its board of directors had elected Robert Lerwill, the retired CEO of the Aegis Group, as a Class II director, effective immediately.

Lerwill, who fills the board vacancy created by the death of Sir Nicholas Scheele in July 2014, will serve on the board’s compensation and leadership development committee.

He is one of five RAI board members designated by Brown & Williamson Holdings, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco.

Lerwill was CEO of the Aegis Group, a global communications, media and market research company, from 2005 to 2008, and was a non-executive director of that group from 2000 to 2005.

He sat on the board of directors of BAT from 2005 to 2013, and currently sits on the boards of directors of ITC Limited, DJI (Holdings), Spire Healthcare and Impello.

“We welcome Robert to the board, and we look forward to working with him as RAI continues its strategy to transform the tobacco industry,” said Thomas C. Wajnert, chairman of the board.

Farmers’ leader says Zimbabwe needs smaller crops

| July 15, 2015

The president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU), Wonder Chabikwa, has said that Zimbabwe needs to grow smaller crops in the future, according to a NewsDay story.

He said the CFU believed that if crops were smaller, the quality would improve and demand would increase.

Zimbabwe has had a difficult marketing season this year, reportedly due to the effects of erratic rains, poor yields and low average prices.

Chabikwa was quoted as saying the selling season was a huge disappointment because prices were too low. The average price for both contract and auction tobacco was $2.93 per kg compared to $3.17 per kg last year, a drop of 7.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association’s CEO, Rodney Ambrose, said that most farmers would not recoup what they had invested this season.

Court orders implementation of bigger warnings rule

| July 15, 2015

An Indian court has directed the federal government to implement a regulation requiring bigger health warnings on tobacco packaging, according to a Reuters story.

The measure had been put on hold pending a report from a parliamentary panel.

The government last year decided that 85 percent of a tobacco pack’s surface should be covered in warnings, up from about 20 percent now.

But in March the government deferred implementation of the regulation because a parliamentary panel said it was still reviewing how the industry would be impacted by the requirement for bigger health warnings.

A court order, issued by the High Court of Rajasthan state last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, has directed the federal government to implement the new regulations.

The government has four weeks to reply.

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