MINSK, 4 December (BelTA) – The proposals to revise the system of work in the manufacture and sale of tobacco products have been submitted to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko at a corresponding session, BelTA has learned.
The head of state remarked that there are two reasons why this session was convened. The first one is a big demand for these products abroad. “It is clear that these are excisable goods generating huge budget revenues,” the president said. “We expect to get Br1 billion, or $0.5 billion in the equivalent, this year. These are big tax revenues.”
However, Alexander Lukashenko stressed that he is against smoking and alcohol abuse.
“Nevertheless, this industry has been growing in Belarus, not only in connection with the existing demand. As for Belarus, I have been informed that the demand for these products has been recently stable in our country and that there has been no growth. It is good,” the Belarusian leader remarked.
The second reason for holding the session is the need to discuss the proposals of certain Belarusian businessmen regarding the improvements in the manufacture and sales of these products. “Businessmen say that the potential of our tobacco industry has not been exhausted yet. There are proposals to streamline work in this industry,” the head of state said.
He mentioned a constant increase in the output of tobacco products; export is also on the rise. “Foreign businessmen have even recently told me that our manufacturers do not want to export their products. There are big niches, even in the European Union. It is beneficial for us. Why are we reluctant to fill these niches?” Alexander Lukashenko wondered. “I have instructed to check this information. Today I will be informed about the results. This is one of the crucial sources of budget replenishment. Therefore, if there is demand, we need to sell tobacco products. If we do not sell them, others will. Markets will be saturated.”
The president emphasized that it is important to make a decision in sync with the interests of the state. “I have promised to those making proposals and to those concerned about these proposals that the decisions will be made in public and in the best interests of the state. If someone provides schemes which we will be able to use in the manufacture and sale of tobacco products, these schemes will be applied immediately. But the main principle is as follows: a new scheme should be more beneficial than the previous one,” the head of state said.
In this context, Alexander Lukashenko suggested discussing possible benefits from the changes in the existing system of making and selling tobacco products and the influence of these changes on the final price of products.
According to Vice Premier Mikhail Rusy, the manufacture of tobacco products in Belarus went up more than three times as against 2000, Belarus' export increased more than 16 times, and import reduced more than 25 times. As of today, Belarusian tobacco products account for over 95% of the domestic market.More about President