The Economic Affairs Committee of the parliament has passed the amendment to the Export Import Act to hike the import duty of cigarettes and energy drinks with an increase of MVR 1 per cigarette stick and MVR 20 per cigarette pack.
The bill lobbied on behalf of the government by Maldives Development Alliance (MDA)'s lawmaker Ahmed Amir was passed by the committee with a few changes. The bill is expected be forwarded to the parliament floor for vote in the coming week.
Some changes made by the committee to the bill include taking 75 laari (MVR 0.75) from each cigarette stick and charging 25 percent as an invoice value. Currently the average price of a cigarette pack is MVR 50, while a cigarette stick is MVR 2.50. However, the price of sticks will be hiked to MVR 3.50 should the parliament pass the bill.
The import duty of energy drinks has been changed to MVR 4.60 according to the new amendments, while the duty of soft drinks remains as 15 percent.
Meanwhile, the official statistics of Maldives Customs Service show that the Maldives earned a revenue of MVR 622 million last year with 497 million cigarettes imported. This is a higher record than 2015 during which 460 million cigarettes were imported.