BAT protests more tobacco taxes


From left: BAT Kenya chairman George Maina, managing director Beverley Spencer-Obatoyinbo and Finance director Sidney Wafula during release of the firm’s 2017 full year results in February. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

Cigarette maker British American Tobacco Kenya (BAT) #ticker:BAT has ratcheted up pressure against further increases in excise duty.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed cigarette maker repeated on Friday that “unpredictable” tax increases are a threat to its Kenya business.

“We would encourage the government to have a much more stable tax environment so that we can have a more predictable operating environment,” BAT Kenya managing director Beverly Spencer-Obatoyinbo said in Nairobi.

Tobacco control advocates have been piling pressure on the government to raise tax on cigarettes from the current Sh2.50 per stick to Sh3.25, claiming it is still too low to curb tobacco consumption, which is linked to cancer.

“Currently, the average growth in the nominal price of a pack of cigarettes is lower than that of kerosene and food, and therefore cigarette smoking is going up,” said Rodgers Kidiya, the programme officer in charge of research and development at the Nairobi-based International Institute for Legislative Affairs while justifying calls for an increase.

BAT reported a 21.2 per cent drop in full year net profit to Sh3.3 billion, attributing this to lower sales in the wake of a weak performance in the Kenyan and export markets.

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