The Sri Lanka Tobacco Retailers’ Association met the newly appointed Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the Finance Ministry last week to highlight several issues facing traders and tobacco sales.
They pointed out that its membership of over 100,000 have been severely affected following the government’s price hike on tobacco products in October, last year, resulting in severe losses for the trade.
This has impacted livelihoods as this also affects sales of other products, which are purchased by tobacco consumers, they said, adding that many consumers are seen switching to illicit products.
They requested the minister to maintain the prices of legal tobacco products at reasonable levels, not to implement the proposed ban on stick sales and to not introduce regulations that will affect their business and livelihoods in a drastic manner.
They added that the tobacco traders have conducted business in an ethical manner respecting the laws and regulations with respect to the tobacco trade and requested the finance minister to consider their position for future policymaking.