Improving Tobacco Tax Policy in the Republic of Macedonia-How tobacco products taxation can reduce their consumption?

Skopje - November 30th, 2018

Venue: hotel Holiday Inn, Skopje

Within the project “Accelerating Progress on Effective Tobacco Tax Policies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries“, financed by University of Chicago at Illinois, the research team of Analytica think tank – Macedonia, organized a roundtable with an aim to present results of the conducted research on the effects of tobacco taxation policy in the Republic of Macedonia. The event was organized on November 30th, 2018, at Holiday INN Hotel in Skopje.

The roundtable was opened by Ms.Tamara Mijovic Spasova, who gave an opening speech and welcomed the participants. Ms.Isidora Ljumovic from the Institute of Economic Sciences from Belgrade, presented the main project objectives, activities performed in the region and the goals of the project. Research results for Macedonia were presented by Ms.Bojana Mijovic Hristovska and she summarized the results and policy recommendations, addressing the possible tobacco control measures that could lead to a more optimal taxation policy. Ms.Hristovska also explained the methodology and research results of the macro model and the effect of the price and income elasticity on demand of tobacco products and the effect on the national budget revenues.

The roundtable was attended by a total of 17 participants from different institutions – representatives from the Institute of Public Health, Center for public health, Ministry of Finance, Customs Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Labor and social policy, governmental body responsible for FCTC, Agency for youth and sport, National agency for European educational programmes and mobility, representatives of CSOs sector.

The representatives of the official institutions had constructive and fruitful dialogue and expressed high interest in the results of the study. Customs Administrations officials and Ministry of agriculture officials expressed high interest for including the research results and recommendations in creating their policies and official documents and strategies regarding tobacco control policy. Analytica was invited by the Customs Administrations officials on further meetings to discuss in details the research results and possible application of the results in future budget projections. The main issues raised by the stakeholders were the illegal cigarette market; availability of exact data; promotion of the research results, need for balanced national tobacco control policy, need for field survey and moderate increase of price of tobacco products. In addition, they addressed the need for regional excise policy harmonization as a toll for minimizing the black market. In general all participants expressed great motivation for future cooperation on this matter.