Rabat – The parliament has approved a bill presented by the Finance Committee of the House of Representatives to raise taxes on the importation of certain cigarette brands. The new law is set to be implemented within the next six months.
The legislation will lead to increased prices of some types of tobacco, especially black and yellow.
Following a debate in parliament, the bill was approved by the Justice and Development party (PJD) as well as the rest of the parliamentary groups.
The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohamed Boussaid, justified the government’s decision to raise taxes on tobacco as a means to fight cigarette smuggling, reported the daily newspaper Al Ahdath Al Maghribia.
Morocco’s Customs and Indirect Taxes Department reported that the share of smuggled cigarettes in the Moroccan market was 12.7 percent, while the competition council estimated the figure at about 15 percent in its report on price competitiveness of Morocco’s tobacco market in 2016.
According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), smuggled cigarettes has cost Morocco millions of dirhams as their share makes up 14 percent of tobacco consumption.
The price of cigarettes already saw a rise in 2016, a trend started when the government changed its method of calculating the domestic tax on cigarette consumption in 2013.