Session to discuss ways to bolster performance of tobacco industry

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It will be necessary to prevent a serious increase in prices for tobacco products if Belarusian tax laws are unified with Russia’s. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement during the government conference held on 10 December to discuss ways to bolster the performance of the tobacco industry.

The head of state stressed: “It is understandable that prices for tobacco and alcohol in the Russian Federation are much higher than those in Belarus. If suddenly unification [of taxation legislation happens], it may result in a serious increase in prices for tobacco products. It would be unacceptable for citizens of Belarus.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “As you know, in the course of negotiations with the Russian Federation we raise a lot of points, including pricing practices, particularly prices for sensitive goods. Despite all the negative effects of tobacco and alcohol, they earn a lot of money for the state budget, this is why there should be no sweeping changes.”

During the meeting the head of state was informed about the state of affairs with the manufacturing and sale of tobacco goods, including taking into account the changes the industry underwent about one year ago. Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “In the past we remodeled our market – production and sales. This sphere is severely regulated in Belarus. We have an investor, who undertook to sell tobacco products of our enterprises in the past and vowed to raise state budget revenues. This is why we had a deal with him.” Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered how the investor was fulfilling his commitments.

Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke about his negative attitude to smoking, yet he made it clear it was his personal opinion. He noted: “I don’t support those, who smoke. I have a special attitude to it. But my opinion is one thing and the opinion of someone, who spends considerable amounts of money on smoking and damaging his or her health, is another thing. In other words, these are certain social issues.”

The head of state also gave instructions to prepare for a discussion about the matters of manufacturing and sale of alcohol products in Belarus in the future.