According to the latest data provided by the research company Novel, black market of cigarettes decreased to 12,6% in May, compared to 13,1% in March. In the last year and a half, smuggling remained at a constant level of 13%.
“In May, we observe a decreasing trend in most regions (the most significant being Bucharest- 2 pp). The most affected regions by the illicit trade continue to remain West (28.8%), North-East (23.5%) and North-West (19.8%). Duty Free places on an ascendant trend and remains the main source for the illicit commerce (33.8%). Products from Ukraine and Moldavia have a constant evolution in May, with 26.6%, respectively 24.9% in the cigarettes black market. Serbia continues to decrease, to 10.7%, compared with 12.8% in March”, said Marian Marcu, Novel Research Director.
“It is a decrease of 0.5 p.p., under the psychological threshold of 13%. It is noticeable the reduction of the illicit inflow coming from Serbia- from over 23% in 2012, to about 10% in May 2013. The decrease is due to special operations launched by the National Customs Authority in March, but also to the Border Police efforts which is running an anti-illicit trade campaign in South-West and West counties, managed with JTI’s support. The campaign aims to educate citizens regarding the negative economic and social effects of the contraband. Border Police and National Customs actions needs to be supported by a coherent fiscal policy and an appropriate regulatory frame”, stated Gilda Lazar, Director Corporate Affairs & Communications, JTI Romania, Moldova & Bulgaria.
“As we have mentioned numerous times before, a percentage recuperated from black market represents supplementary revenues of 40 million euro to the state budget. In the last two years and a half, authorities have acted jointly and unitary to fight against illicit trade with cigarettes. Tobacco sector has a national multiannual strategy regarding the fight against illicit trade. Romania finds itself in a difficult position with those 2,000 km of external border with non –EU countries, and the mission to protect national interest of fighting illicit trade goes hand in hand with protecting the interest of European community facing the same phenomenon”, stated Adrian Popa, Director Corporate & Regulatory Affairs, BAT Romania.
“It is noticeable that black market goes more and more towards the European average of 10-11%. The efforts of authorities to fight illicit trade have showed results and are acclaimed. In order to keep contraband in the downsize trend it is necessary that illicit trade with cigarettes remain a priority, efforts to combat black market to continue equally efficient as until present and legislation to be improved. In the same time, tobacco companies will support competent authorities in fighting illicit trade with their global expertize and endorsed partnerships and, also, they will contribute to raising awareness in society on the negative aspects of contraband: organized crime, losses at state budget, safety of products”, said Sorana Mantho, Director Corporate Affairs, Philip Morris Romania and Bulgaria.
In order to reduce black market, there is needed to be enacted a unitary regulation for the crimes of smuggling and tax evasion, to clarify the situation and to qualify the crimes committed in the border crossing points with EU member states such as Bulgaria and Hungary, to confer specific competencies to the local police and to the gendarmerie, to scan of all vehicles passing through the border crossing points. In the same time, the funds received by Romanian state following agreements signed by main tobacco producers with European Commission to be explicitly allocated to fight against illicit trade with cigarettes and to set up a reward fund for those with remarkable results in this fields.
Tobacco industry is one of the biggest contributors to Romanian state budget. Last year, tobacco producers contributed with over 3 billion Euro to the state budget, representing excise and taxes paid. The amount represents about 2.7% of GDP and a contribution of approximately 10% of budgetary revenues.