Gambia - New tobacco tax policy to be introduced

In line with the recommendations provided by the needs assessment exercise conducted jointly by the Government of Gambia and the Convention Secretariat in late 2012, Gambia will introduce a new tobacco taxation policy in January 2013.

Currently, Gambia has several types of taxes for tobacco products. For cigarettes, this includes import duty (20% Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF)), import sales tax (15% CIF plus duty), excise tax (165 Dalasi (approximately US$ 5) per kilo), environment tax, customs processing fees and 0.50% ECOWAS levy. Over recent years, there has been a modest increase in tobacco taxation but the retail price has remained stable.

This new policy will move from a weight-based specific tax to one based on the number of cigarettes, as follows:

1. An excise tax of 5 Dalasi (US$ 0.15) per pack on cigarettes will be in force from 2013 and will increase to 7 Dalasi (US$ 0.21) per pack in 2015; and

2. An excise tax of 37.50 Dalasi (US$ 1.14) per kilogram will be applied to non-cigarette tobacco products that are not in packs.

This policy will mean an increase in the equivalent tax rate on cigarettes of around 25%. The Government will also introduce a 15% ad valorem rate (VAT) tobacco tax in 2014.

Overall, the measures should enable substantial progress to be made in implementation of Article 6 of the WHO FCTC to reduce demand for tobacco.

As part of the assistance provided following the needs assessment exercise, the Convention Secretariat facilitated technical assistance from the World Bank working together with the Government in introducing the new tobacco taxation policy.