• June 12, 2024

Hungary moves from open market to monopoly to zeropoly

Smokers in some Hungarian villages will not have local access to cigarettes after a new law allowing only state-licensed tobacconists to sell cigarettes comes into effect in May, according to an MTI-EcoNews story quoting the opposition Socialist lawmaker, Csaba Toth.

As was reported here on April 3, the country’s parliament adopted legislation in September last year for the establishment of a state monopoly of the retail sale of tobacco products on July 1, 2013.

The National Tobacco Trade Non-profit, which is overseeing the establishment of the monopoly, said that 15,633 applications for the retail sale of tobacco had been submitted by the February 22 deadline stipulated in the initial tender.

No applications were submitted in the case of 1,417 villages, however; so new tenders have been invited.

But since the winners of the new round of tenders would be announced only on April 23, said Toth, there would not be enough time for the shops to open on May 1, the deadline after which only licensed tobacconists may sell cigarettes.

This would encourage black market trading and result in a drop in excise tax revenues, he added.