Smokers soon need to spend more on tobacco

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Issue 699, Page 5
Word count: 353
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Retail prices of cigarettes are expected to be raised following yesterday’s passage of the bill to increase tobacco tax at the Legislative Assembly.

The revision will see the consumption tax of each cigarette be surged from five cents to 20 cents.

As such, a pack of 20 cigarettes will carry a consumption tax of four patacas, or up by 400 percent.

In addition, the consumption tax for each kilogram of tobacco will be jumped from 20 patacas to 80 patacas.

Cigars will even carry a much heavier tax from 70 patacas per kilogram to 280 patacas.

The changes will come into effect the next day after the law is gazetted – which is expected to be within this month according to the usual administrative procedure.

According to Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen, the revision was introduced in an attempt to control the number of smokers in Macau as well as to comply with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to minimise demands for tobacco in society.

Environmental protection

On the other hand, the legislature yesterday also passed the bill at its final reading to abolish the Environmental Protection Committee in order to establish an Environmental Protection Bureau, which will carry greater competency and an expanded organisational structure.

The date of the abolishment of the committee and setting up of the bureau will be on the same day of June 29.

All the existing staff members, property, and rights and obligations will be automatically transferred to the new bureau.

Chief of the Office for the Transport and Public Works Secretary, Wong Chan Tong, said that the bureau will be authorised more power to meet society’s current and future development, and also to respond to social demands and step up efforts in regional and international co-operation of environmental conservation.

The organisation, operation and power of the bureau will be announced in administrative regulations.

Wong said the bureau will manage the landfill in Macau, but the Office for the Development of the Energy Sector (GDSE) will continue to operate on its own and not be incorporated with the bureau.

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