01:09 26/05/06

Today the National Assembly of Armenia adopted by a second reading the
draft law on making amendments in the Law On Fixed Fees on Cigarette
Products. Mnatsakan PETROSYAN, NA Unified Employment Party (MAK)
block member, has had this idea since 2005. He is also the author of
the draft.

According Mnatsakan Petrosyan, the studies show that 3800 cigars have
been imported into Armenia with customs cost of about USD 10 thousand
in 2004. In 2005 only 400 cigars were imported paying 600 thousand
Armenian drams in customs tax. However, the deputy is sure that in
2005 20,000 cigars are imported into Armenia by illegal channels. In
2006, no cigars have been imported. He says that high customs fees
determine shadow economy in import of cigars, paying 1500 Armenian
drams per one cigar whereas in the shops they cost only 1200-1500
Armenian drams. "It is not possible. We see risk for corruption
here. We should bring that out of shadow economy," he says.

After the amendments are made in the law, cigar importers will pay
only 550 AMD as customs tax which is double cheaper.

But doesn't this law support another MAK member Gurgen Arsenyan's
business? The latter deals with import of cigars through ArsOil

"Gurgen Arsenyan does not import cigars any more. We try to contribute
to the state budget. The state will win in the long run. This is a
real change," Petrosyan says.