The British American Tobacco Zambia limited (BAT) says the illicit trade of tobacco on the black market has deprived government of the much needed revenue.
BAT managing director Clara Milambo disclosed that cigarettes were being smuggled into the country through organised crimes.
Mrs. Milambo explained that the Zambian market was littered with foreign cigarettes that do not bear the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) tax stamp.
She was speaking in Lusaka today when she met Home Affairs Deputy Minister Gerry Chanda at his office.
Mrs. Milambo further stated that the influx of illicit cigarettes has affected her company’s business operations resulting in the firm remitting low taxes to the state.
She explained that before the illicit trade of cigarettes became more pronounced, the British American Tobacco used to remit huge sums of money to government in form of taxes.
Mrs. Milambo recalled that in 2012, the tobacco company remitted K188 million to ZRA while in 2013, the firm remitted K222 million to the revenue company in form of taxes.
She said the influx of illicit cigarettes on the Zambian market has resulted in a slump of revenue her company was remitting to government.
Mrs. Milambo said last year, the British American Tobacco Zambia limited only managed to remit K159 million to government due to the influx of illicit cigarettes.
She has since appealed to government to curb the illicit trade in cigarettes failure to which government will continue to lose huge sums of revenue.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Milambo said the British American Tobacco Zambia limited has grown since it closed its factory operations in Zambia.
Mrs. Milambo explained that the closure of the factory in Zambia helped the company to focus in growing the market.
And Home Affairs Deputy Minister Gerry Chanda said government was concerned with the smuggling of various products into the country.
Colonel Chanda said government was losing a lot of revenue through smuggling.
He has however assured the British American Tobacco Zambia limited that government will work hard to cub the illicit trade of cigarettes.
He said the ministry will work with other law enforcing agencies to tighten security in all the border crossing points.-Zanis