BAT calls for no increase on cigarette taxes

British American Tobacco says the illegal cigarette trade has cost government R20bn in unpaid taxes.

FILE: BAT would rather have authorities bolster the crackdown on the illicit cigarette trade. Picture: Freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - A major tobacco company has urged government not to increase excise taxes on cigarettes.

British American Tobacco (BAT) believes authorities should rather bolster the crackdown on the illicit cigarette trade.

The so called sin taxes will likely be increased.

BAT's Lesely Rance says the illegal cigarette trade has cost government R20 billion in unpaid taxes.

"We'd like to urge the National Treasury to keep excise duties on cigarettes at the current level. And propose that rather it looks at widening the tax space and focuses on enforcement, particularly of the grid manufacturers and importers who are currently evading taxes."

Later today, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene is expected to spell out the financial state of the nation as he delivers his budget at Parliament.

With sluggish growth, stubborn unemployment and load-shedding, he's facing a difficult task.

The big question for most South Africans is whether or not he will raise taxes.

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