MANILA, Philippines - Cigarette maker British American Tobacco (BAT) said it will proceed with its 5-year US$200 million investment in the Philippines after the sin tax bill, which increases the overall excise tax slapped on cigarettes and alcohol products, got the nod of lawmakers.
In a statement on Tuesday, December 11, BAT said this announcement comes as the bicameral committee is set to ratify the report on the sin tax bill in the afternoon, and is expected to be signed into law before yearend.
"In light of these latest developments, and in anticipation of President Aquino signing the bill soon, we confirm that we are investing at minimum $200 million over the next 5 years. We are looking forward to competing in the market and contributing to the growth of the Philippine economy," BAT wrote.
The multinational company has dangled the investment to pressure the legislators to pass the long-awaited sin tax reform system.
The current 4-tiered sin tax system favors local brands and slaps imported ones like those sold by BAT higher tax rates. This unfavorable tax structure has led BAT leave the Philippines in 2008.
Philippines general manager James Lafferty had stressed that they are supporting the sin tax reforms to "level the playing field."
He said BAT has been scouting for locations or factories for a possible manufacturing operations.
BAT produces brands, including Lucky Strike, Dunhill, Kent and Pall Mall. - Rappler.com
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