The entire tobacco value chain is under threat from illicit traders and a threat to increase excise taxes again, the recently launched Black Tobacco Farmers Association (BTFA) says. The tobacco industry continues to face a rising number of challenges in SA including rising levels of trafficking and an increasingly uncertain regulatory environment. Estimates are that close to 50% of the tobacco market in the country is controlled by illicit players, making it one of the largest in the world and costing the fiscus up to R9bn a year in uncollected tax as production volumes are concealed from the authorities. On Monday BTFA called on the government to keep excise taxes at its current level to protect jobs on farms. In 2018, the government increased excise duties by between 6% and 10%. This was expected to bring in an additional R1.33bn in revenue in the 2018/19 financial year. “We just want to add our voice and request that the finance minister [sees to it that] Sars tackles the illicit...

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