The production and marketing of illegal cigarettes has caused an accumulated tax loss of RD$27,000 million during the period 2013-2021, the authorities said this Friday.
This illicit trade affects the competitiveness of the business and its legal volume. According to industry estimates, by the end of 2022 the total drop in cigarette volume legal it was approximately 61%, compared to 2012, specified the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs (MICM).
To date, they have identified 28 marks of illegal cigarettes that are marketed in Dominican territory, without stamps or health warnings required by law.
Among them are the names of Gold City and Capitalthe latter represents 62% of the total products seized by the competent authorities between 2016 and 2020.
The MICM stated in a statement that, during the period 2000-2023, it has achieved the confiscation of more than 183 million units of illegal cigarettes, with the support of the Specialized Body for Fuel Control (Ceccom), and other government entities.
“Following the increase in the incidence of illegal cigarettes of 33% per year in recent years, we have declared the war to this practice that affects both consumer rights and the country’s tax collections”, said the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Mipymes, Víctor ‘Ito’ Bisonó.
More than 600 operatives carried out in the last three years, most of them carried out in the border area, the consolidation of official efforts has resulted in a significant reduction in the illegal cigarette trade, observing that by 2021, the incidence of cigarette smuggling dropped from 49.4% to 32.5%
This blow to illegal activity is the result of daily confiscation operations, led by the Ceccom team and with the support of a series of institutions such as the Public ministrythe General Directorate of Customs, the General Directorate of Internal Taxesthe Ministry of Health and Pro Consumer, among other entities, specified the information.
Last February, the ministry and Ceccom jointly launched a campaign on the problem of illegal cigarettes, which seeks to generate a better understanding of the problem, its impact on the local industry, and the role of merchants and consumers in the fight against cigarette smuggling.