The VAT increase in consumer goods is having an impact in the sale of cigarettes and there is an artificial scarcity being created by unsrupulous traders .
The government announced that they will introduce a 15% VAT on the sale of cigarettes.This will result in the price of a cigarette going up by around Rs.6. An official from Consumer Protection Authority said they have been made aware that some traders anticipating this VAT increase have gone to the extent of selling or pawning their vehicles and also obtaining bank loans and buying cigarettes and hording them mass scale. “This is the reason for the shortage now.” The Ceylon Tobacco Company also saw an unexpected volume of sales since the announcement was made.However the VAT increase is yet to be implemented. (SS)