Main Menu

Tax Tongan tobacco will be imposed soon despite strong opposition

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 26/07/2019

The CEO of Revenue and Customs Kelemete Vahe has confirmed the Government’s new tax on Tongan Tobacco will be effective in September – despite many growers expressing their dissatisfaction over the issue.

The Ministry of Revenue and Customs hosted a consultation to inform growers on the new tax this morning and was attended by local growers, however many growers were against the new tax.

Kelemete Vahe says this morning most of the attendants were dissatisfied with the new tax, however their dissatisfactions will not hinder the government’s initiative on the new tax.

Vahe adds, the new tax is to discourage smokers and promote a healthier environment for all, following a report from WHO stating that Tongan Tobacco has more nicotine than the imported cigarettes.

Vahe says, the new tax will be imposed on September 16th and local growers will have to complete requirements before it is available for commercial purposes.

Attending this morning’s consultation was Tinitale Lanivia of Kolofo’ou who is one of the growers of Tongan Tobacco and strongly opposed the government’s tax and says the real reason behind the initiative is for the Government to collect more revenue from the public.

As Tinitale has expressed his view on the issue, he also adds he’s been able to fulfil his fatherly duties through growing Tongan Tobacco as it has been his family’s main source of income.

He adds now the new tax will be imposed without hesitation, they will wait for the new government to revoke it.

© Radio and Television Tonga New