The level of cigarette smuggling in Romania decreased by 1.3 percentage points in the first half of this year, compared to the end of last year, to 15.5 percent, the Romanian authorities managing to capture 75 million smuggling cigarettes worth about RON 45 million, British American Tobacco (BAT) shows.
The decrease of cigarette trafficking took place in the context of the four SCUT operations carried out by the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) through the customs authority, the increased actions of the Border Police, the intensification of the controls carried out by the Romanian Police and the completion by DIICOT of important organized crime files, the tobacco manufacturer points out.
According to BAT, the authorities have prevented daily more than 20,000 smuggling cigarette packets from reaching the black market in Romania, equivalent to the total consumption of a city of about 100,000 inhabitants.
However, the impact of smuggling on state budget revenues is still significant, with each percentage point on the black market accounting for about EUR 40 million not collected by the state as taxes and excise duties.
In this context, the impact of 15.5 percent on the state budget is estimated at EUR 620 million. Although the level of smuggling has dropped, Romania is far from the European average, Ileana Dumitru, Director Legal & External Affairs, BAT Romania commented.
Thus, the cigarette packs are hidden in flour sacks and liquid detergent cans, or are transported across the Prut using fishing rods and delta planes, are slammed into the car bodies or hidden in freight trains and even in ships under the foreign flag. Another source of concern, according to BAT, is the black market of “home made” cigarettes and the so-called “illegal” cigarette factories in the basement of blocks.
Last year, Romanians smoked 4.41 billion smuggled cigarettes, accounting for almost 10 percent of the 48 billion cigarettes smuggled into the European Union, KPMG study reveals.