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BRITISH American Tobacco Zambia has recorded 48 percent increase in gross revenues in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2018, Board Chairman Michael Mundashi has said.

Mr Mundashi said the company had recorded an improvement in the underlying business performance when compared to the same period last year.

“This was driven by the realisation of the benefits of local manufacturing which commenced in the last quarter of 2017,” he said.

Mr Mundashi said the increase in revenues was a direct result of the corresponding year on year increase in volumes of 49 percent. “Macroeconomic fundamentals have a significant and potentially negative impact on the company and its equity.  As such, the company is gratified by the re-commitment of the Government to implement the Zambia Plus Economic Stabilization and Growth Programme,” he said.

At the same time, he said, the Board was committed to reducing the foreign currency exposure through sustainable profit growth.

Mr Mundashi said the growth of illicit trade in the cigarette market continued to pose a significant threat to the company.

“It is estimated that the Government is losing K200 million annually in tax leakages arising from illicit trade. This revenue loss deprives the Government of much-needed revenue to bolster the national treasury.

“The prevalence of illicit trade has a direct effect of reducing resources the Government can mobilize from the domestic market and negatively impacts on its capability to increase investments on social investments and public goods,” he said.

Mr Mundashi said it was therefore imperative for the Zambia Revenue Authority to continue with efforts of fully enforcing the Customs and Excise Act.

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