A recent report published by Nielsen Pakistan and titled “The challenge of Illicit Trade in Cigarettes: Impact and Solutions for Pakistan” was launched at a seminar on” illicit trade in Pakistan” held on Thursday in Lahore.
Speaking at the event, the Nielsen representative shared the findings of the report with a wide range of participants including high ranking officials from Federal Board of Revenue, Police, Punjab Government as well as industry and civil society representatives.
According to the report nearly 1 out of every 4 cigarettes in Pakistan is illegal. The share of the illegal cigarettes in the total market is estimated to be 23.7% which means that around 19.5 billion sticks sold per annum are illegal.
The report discloses that the illicit cigarette sector has witnessed a growth of 43.5% over the last 6 years and all this has been at the expense of the tax compliant industry. This phenomenal growth has also caused a huge dent in the national exchequer in the form of loss of duties and taxes. The report estimates this loss to be above Rs. 24 billion per annum.