British American Tobacco (BAT) has paid shs96 billion to government in form of taxes in the 2019 financial year, the company has said.
“ In 2019, the company’s tax payments increased by shs6 billion to shs 96 billion in the form of Excise Duty, Value Added Tax and Corporation Tax,” the BAT Uganda Chairman, Dr. Elly Karuhanga said on Thursday during the company’s Annual General Meeting held electronically to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Karuhanga said the company will continue contributing to government’s socio-economic development through remittance of significant tax revenues.
Government in 2017 decided to increase Excise Duty from shs50,000 to shs55000 per 1000 locally manufactured sticks of cigarette whereas imported sticks cost shs75000 as duty.
The company announced during the Annual General Meeting that it had maintained a 100% dividend payout to its shareholders, adding that shs15.7 billion will be paid to shareholders.
British American Tobacco said that despite their strong performance, they are still disturbed by smuggled cigarettes that are affecting them greatly.
“We are concerned by the impact of illicit trade in tobacco products. According to independent third-party research, approximately 19% of cigarettes sold in Uganda are illegal,”BAT Uganda Managing Director,Mathu Kiunjuri said.
“These worrying levels of illicit trade not only impact consumers who unknowingly purchase these products but also government revenues and the legitimate tobacco market. Tax-evaded illegal cigarettes continue to deprive the government in excess of an estimated shs 30 billion every year. This is revenue that is desperately needed to support the country economic recovery given the adverse impact of COVID-19.”
The BAT Uganda Chairman, Dr. Elly Karuhanga said that the illicit trade continues to impact the company business and the regional economy adding that there is need for firm and sustained enforcement action to combat the vice.
The BAT Managing Director however called upon government to ratify the World Health Organization Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
He said ratification would provide a robust framework for the implementation of global
standards in fighting illicit trade, optimising benefits of URA’s Digital Tracking System (DTS) and helping to tackle illicit financial flows.