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Gov’t to act against sale of unstamped cigarette packets

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A man smokes a cigarette near the National Museum in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Gov’t to act against sale of unstamped cigarette packets

From this month, joint working groups formed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance will act against those involved in the distribution and sale of cigarette packets devoid of tax stamps.

All unstamped cigarette packets are to be impounded, with the producers, importers and vendors set to face the law.

A ministry directive dated June 12 and made public on Tuesday stated that, from July, working groups from the General Department of Taxation and the General Department of Customs and Excise will inspect cigarette manufacturers, and warehouses and distribution depots containing them, as well stores and markets that sell them, to stamp out products contravening the law.

The ministry had issued a series of directives since 2016 on the use of tax stamps.

“The inspection of cigarette enterprises, distribution depots and stores is aimed at expanding the management of local cigarette producing and importing enterprises, as well as cigarette vendors and distributors. Tax stamps are to be properly implemented in accordance with the law,” the ministry stated.

The majority of cigarette manufacturers, importers, distributors and vendors were obeying the law, but a small number were still unclear as to fulfilling their obligations, the directive said.

On April 2, the working groups made local enterprises aware of the measures regarding tax stamps on cigarette packets.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance had informed cigarette manufacturers, importing enterprises, vendors and local distributors of cigarettes to implement the proper placing of new stamp tags as stated in prakas number 1480 of the ministry.

The aim of the prakas was to fully eliminate illicit cigarettes, with the working groups entrusted with inspecting cigarette warehouses from this month onwards.

Upon inspection, if cigarettes at warehouses or on sale are found not to have new stamp tags, fake stamp tags or no stamp tags at all, the working groups would impound the cigarettes and the owner is held accountable in accordance with the law.

Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesman Kim Sopheak told The Post on Tuesday that the formation of the joint working groups was a sign of strengthening the implementation of the law surrounding cigarettes.

“Inspection is to make sure that all cigarette manufacturers place proper stamp tags as instructed by the ministry. Any products not placed with stamp tags, we want them to be clamped down,” Sopheak said.

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