As of this month, any business found with fake liquor or cigarettes should expect punishment from the long arm of the law, the Ministry of Finance has announced.
The ministry said it would remove and destroy stock of fake liquor or cigarettes from any business premises without any compensation to the business owner.
Those found with fake merchandise would be liable to pay tax on those products. There would be no mercy for third parties who bought merchandise from other wholesalers or agents.
“We have come across cigarette brands with too high tar levels and on occasions nicotine level five times higher than for medium ranged cigarettes.
This is life threatening,” stated the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Finance Calle Schlettwein in a recent release.
Fake whiskies and brandies were also found with either higher level of alcohol than permitted or lower than the approved levels.
The ministry said it has recently observed a steady increase in the marketing and consumption of especially illicit tobacco and spirituous products in Namibia.
“We wish to appeal to traders and consumers to voluntarily apply normal logic: if the price appears too good to be true, it probably is,” Schlettwein stated.
The public are also encouraged to contact the Directorate of Customs and Excise in the Ministry of Finance if they come across illicit tobacco or alcohol products.
Often, illicit products bear the same label that can only be distinguished upon closer inspection.
“The hidden costs of consuming products that were not quality tested and with false labelling and substance information will invariably by far exceed the benefit of paying less,” he explained.
The ministry is also asking importers and exporters to acquaint themselves with the duty-at-source system for tobacco and spirits.
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