PRICES OF EXCISE DUTY LABELS TO BE HIKED 50 PER CENT
New excise duty labels for cigarettes and spirits will be introduced as of the beginning of 2004, Lyuba Hristova, Head of the Finance Ministry's Control on the Printing of Securities departnment, announced at a seminar. The exchange of excise duty labels is part of the measures for combatting grey economy. The present model of the labels for tobacco products is from 1998, and the most recent change of their design was in the beginning of 2002. The new excise duty labels project additional security. Some of the specific protection signs are visible only to experts. The exchange has been partly motivated by the more frequent cases of forgery of excise duty labels for spirits, and is also an attempt to ensure in advance with a view to the forthcoming privatisation of Bulgartabac. The first forged labels were primitive, but fakers of excise duty labels for spirits have recently made a considerable improvement. The most obvious novelty will be the hologram band on the labels. The other protection will include micro text and use of non-standard letters. In September 2003 the Finance Minister approved the new design fo excise duty lables and three tenders were invited for supply of the paper, for the print house that will fulfill the orders, and for the supply of hologram foil. The first tender was won by the French company Arjo Wiggins, the printing will be entrusted to BNB's print house, and the holograms will be ensured by Demax. Because of the new protection the price of excise duty labels for cigarettes will go up 50% - from BGN0.03 to BGN0.45. The prices of labels for spirits have not been calculated yet. Four printing houses have been licenced so far, which will produce securities under the supervision of the Finance Ministry, Ms. Petrova specified. They are BNB's print house, MF Formprint, Demax, and the Rousee-based Dounav print. Some of them have limited capacities, e.g. stocks and interim certificates may be printed only in the first three enterprises.