BTFA said its call was inspired by the SA Revenue Service’s (Sars) incapacity to effectively tackle the illicit trade of cigarettes to protect farmers from the threat of job losses.
Top independent economists have found that revenue collections from taxes on cigarettes have declined sharply despite successive rate hikes.
Research house Ipsos reported in November last year that Sars was now losing at least R8billion annually due to illicit cigarettes. Econometrix found that income from tobacco excise declined by R1.94bn between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
Ntando Sibisi, BTFA chairperson, said illicit trade, as well as an impending threat to increase excise taxes, posed a risk to the entire tobacco value chain, especially emerging farmer programmes that have developed small-scale tobacco farmers.