Pakistan has $175.8 million reasons to tackle tobacco smuggling

| April 17, 2013

Pakistan is losing 17 billion Pakistani rupees ($175.8 million) per annum due to the illicit cigarette trade, which represents about 26.7 percent of total cigarettes consumed in terms of volume.

According to a research paper compiled by the Euromonitor International, and cited in a story published by the Asia News Network, Pakistan ranked third-highest in illicit trade in Asia-Pacific countries, behind Malaysia and Hong Kong last year.

When compared to its Asia-Pacific counterparts, over a five year period (2006-11), Pakistan’s illicit cigarette trade registered the second-highest growth of 62.77 percent after Vietnam (70.7 percent).

During the same period China, the largest cigarette consuming economy in Asia Pacific, registered an impressive contraction in illicit trade by 18 percent.

Total government revenue loss over the past five years due to illicit trade amounted to a staggering 80 billion rupees. This is approximately equivalent to 11 percent of the funds approved by the Public Sector Development Programme.

The document further revealed that Pakistan’s illicit cigarette trade comprises three main types, namely, local duty-not-paid (DNP), smuggled and counterfeit. Of these, local DNP cigarettes have the dominant share unlike the global norm where smuggled cigarettes are usually the real cause of concern.

The local DNP cigarettes made up to 84.5 percent of total illicit market, while 12 percent and 3.5 percent were smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes, respectively. This high share of local DNP suggests that situation is more of an internal problem, thus highlighting the need for improving local law enforcement.

Euromonitor estimates that an alarming 26.7 percent of all cigarettes consumed in Pakistan last year were illicit comprising local DNP, smuggled or counterfeit. This translates to a massive volume of 23.5 billion sticks. It further stated that during 2002-2011, global illicit cigarette trade contracted by 7.3 percent, whereas in the same period, the situation in Pakistan worsened with a growth in illicit trade of 113.6 percent. In fact, volume of illicit cigarettes more than doubled from 11 billion sticks in 2002 to 23.5 billion sticks in 2011.

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Category: Breaking News

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