New tax raises cigarette prices 36%

Smokers will now pay just over 36 per cent More for a pack of Cigarettes, according to Carreras Limited, the primary marketer and distributor of Cigarettes and tobacco products in Jamaica.

Smokers will now pay just over 36 per cent More for a pack of Cigarettes, according to Carreras Limited, the primary marketer and distributor of Cigarettes and tobacco products in Jamaica. The price increase comes as a result of a new tax package announced by Finance Minister Audley Shaw in his Budget presentation last week. Last week in his budget presentation, Shaw announced that it is proposed to reform the tax structure on tobacco-related products and increase the special consumption tax (SCT) rate, effective yesterday. The government increased the tax from $2,300 to $6,000 per thousand sticks and will remit 20 per cent of the tax revenues from this source directly to the National Health Fund (NHF). The government expects to earn an additional $2.88 million in revenue made from taxes on tobacco products. Carreras, in a press release Monday, said that the suggested retail price for the two most popular cigarette brands, Craven A and Matterhorn, has moved from $280 per pack to $380 per pack -a 36 per cent increase. The company said it expects the most popular price of a stick of cigarette - More than 70 per cent of Cigarettes sales are made by the stick - to move from $15 to $20, although checks done by the Business Observer yesterday placed the price per stick as high as $30. "Based on the over 100 per cent increase in taxes on Cigarettes as announced by the minister of finance and the public service in last week's Budget presentation, (Carreras) will be implementing a price increase on Craven A, Matterhorn and Dunhill. This increase will take effect from Monday April 14, 2008," disclosed the company in the release. Corporate and regulatory affairs manager at Carreras, Rhys Campbell, told the Business Observer yesterday that the wholesale prices of the Craven A and Matterhorn brands were being increased from $2,300 with GCT per carton to $3,180 with GCT per carton, a 38 per cent increase. Campbell noted, however, that the price of Pall Mall Cigarettes will remain unchanged, due to what he said is a "brand strategy" being implemented by the company.

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