The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) Ireland has expressed its continuing concerns about the implications of government policy for the independent retail sector, following recent comments by Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
Speaking last week at the Fine Gael ‘think in’ in, Limerick Minister Michael Noonan stated; “There's always an interest in raising duty on tobacco. We won't rule it out completely.”
NFRN Ireland is of the opinion that this contradicts Minister Noonan's own stated belief that “the high price is now giving rise to massive cigarette smuggling” as well as similar warnings from the Revenue Commission.
A statement from NFRN Ireland said that it "is calling on the Minister to adopt a common sense approach to tobacco taxation by avoiding excessive increases in excise which fuel tobacco smuggling, undermine the government’s own health goals and costs jobs in the legitimate retail sector.
"Empty pack surveys have found that 27% of cigarettes consumed in Ireland have not been taxed in this jurisdiction meaning that this should also be an issue of grave concern for the exchequer."
Commenting on the NFRN Ireland Pre-Budget Submission, NFRN Ireland District President Peter Steemers said: “Over the past few days government ministers and TDs have been publicly congratulating themselves on Ireland’s economic turnaround and have been trumpeting a series of expected tax breaks and spending increases in the forthcoming budget. However, in all this noise they seem to be losing sight of the fact that much of the country is still struggling to get by – this is as true of the small independent retailers which the NFRN represents as it is of Ashbourne Annie.
“The government must work with indigenous enterprises to tackle the problem of illicit tobacco. Many are struggling and without support will become unviable, destroying the country’s retail sector.”
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Niall Swan