More clarity on pricing ‘nightmare’ for smokers, 09/11/10

CIGARETTE prices have doubled to almost $8 per pack as the Department of Economic Planning and Development under the Prime Minister’s Office issued the new price list which took effect yesterday.

The increase in cigarette prices stemmed from the latest amendment to the Customs Import Duties Order 2010 that imposes a tax hike on tobacco products.

The new price list, which was issued late yesterday afternoon, took effect immediately.

 

The Brunei Times obtained a copy of the new price list, which was posted on the walls of all stores and shops licensed to sell cigarettes.

Vendors interviewed by The Brunei Times said the official prices for cigarette brands distributed by IDS Borneo Sdn Bhd range from $6.30 per pack to $7.40.

Pricing for other brands has yet to be communicated to the vendors but reports of other cigarette brands being sold at varying prices were still circulating.

According to the suppliers, a meeting with the Economic Planning Unit was held over the past week to come up with the new pricing before supplies were redistributed to the vendors yesterday.

One vendor from a retail shop on Mile One in Jalan Tutong said the letter carrying the new prices came in late yesterday afternoon followed by a fresh supply of cigarettes.

According to the letter, the new prices were amended to take into account the tax hike sometime around November 6 following a meeting between both the Economic Planning Unit and wholesale distributors.

“We were expecting the prices to be this high since many of us estimated the price to be somewhere around that region,” said Mostaqim, a shopkeeper who also got his fresh supply of cigarettes.

Customers who came in looking for cigarettes were pleased that shops were again stocked up with their favourite brands but were annoyed that the prices went up.

Shopkeepers at Sifana Supermarket in Jalan Muara also commented on the immediate effect the new supply of cigarettes brought in to their shop yesterday afternoon.

The shopkeepers were one in saying that with the new prices in place customers were grumbling over the higher prices compared to a week ago.

Mohd Sofian Hj Serbini who were among the customers seen purchasing cigarettes at a shop on Jalan Muara said that with the new prices already in, he was seriously contemplating on quitting the costly habit.

“With the new prices of cigarettes being so high, I now have to think carefully of my purchase since I could use the money to either buy fuel for my car or top up my phone credit,” said Mohd Sofian.

Others were also heard making the same remarks with thoughts of cutting down or quitting weighing heavily on their minds.

Over the past week since news of the tax hike became public, vendors throughout the country were in short supply of cigarettes due to hoarding by customers trying to get ahead of the price hike as well as the undetermined retail prices.

As finding cigarettes became difficult, consumers became more resourceful by purchasing across the border. The Brunei Times

 

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