Alcohol producers and distributors shocked by new excise duty

04-12-2008, 10:05

Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) – In 2005, Polish government raised excise duty and lost. Will it be the same this time? Producers of alcohol beverages say ‘yes’.

Instead of lowering taxes, the government continue to raise them. Yesterday, the cabinet announced out of a sudden that in 2009, the excise duty for alcohol beverages will grow by 16 percent for wine, 13 percent for beer and 10 percent for vodka. The sector is surprised and upset. Alcohol producers warn that the increase will adversely affect not only themselves but also the budget.

“When in 2005, the excise duty was raised by 3.4 percent, the budget revenues were supposed to grow by PLN 300m. Instead, they dropped by PLN 130m because vodka sales fell 10 percent. That’s why we fear that the planned 10-percent increase may cause even 20 percent lower sales”, Leszek Wiwala, the CEO of the Polish Alcohol Industry commented.

In his opinion, illegal market will grow, especially that the excise duty for vodka will be the highest in the region.

“The increase is a big surprise to the sector. Government representatives would assure us that this tax will not grow. We are cheated. We expected liberal government to do something else: support entrepreneurship, stopping barriers and lowering taxes. Now, Polish tourists will go for alcohol shopping to the Czech Republic and Slovakia”, Leszek Wiwala believed.

The Polish market of alcohol beverages is worth PLN 30bn annually.

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