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'Illegal cigarette trade accounts for 14% of Sars' R50bn shortfall'

Research conducted by global company Ipsos has found that the non-organised trade sells 79.7% of all cigarettes in South Africa.

Picture: Pixabay

JOHANNESBURG – Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) has called on Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to investigate and inspect cigarette factories after a report revealed massive illegal trade in the industry.

Research conducted by global company Ipsos has found that the non-organised trade sells 79.7% of all cigarettes in South Africa.

Ipsos has also found that around 8,000 jobs are at risk from the sale of illicit cigarettes with tax-compliant companies at risk of closing.

BLSA says the trade accounts for 14% of the R50-billion shortfall recorded by the South African Revenue Services.

Spokesperson Thebe Mabanga says: “Business Leadership South Africa is calling on the South African Revenue Service to immediately reinstate Specialised Unit to crack down on illegal cigarette sales which are costing the economy R7 billion a year.”