The National,Friday20January 2012
I REFER to Non-Smoker Observer’s (The National Jan 19) letter on “BAT move on cigarette stock is a gross abuse”.
This is a very serious case that needs to be investigated by the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission and the Internal Revenue Commission as there could be tax payments which have been withheld .
British American Tobacco sells on average per month 100 million sticks of tobacco and annually 1.2 billion sticks of tobacco.
It is estimated that in Papua New Guinea the adult smoking population is approximately 3 million out of a population of 7 million.
If you do the math, this is really scary.
BAT’s overall goal and objective is to grow volume through increased distribution.
They do this by making cigarettes available in every outlet, street market and clubs with no concern for the exposure it has on our children.
The real reason why prices of cigarettes went up last month and early this month was because management had decided to hold back stock, because they had already hit their final year end target in November last year, which guaranteed them fat bonuses.
They also held back the stock because they wanted to manage their shareholder expectations down in Australia.
If they had gone over target this year shareholders would be putting more pressure and demand more from them, hence there would be no guarantee for another fat bonus.
Because of this corporate greed they have gone ahead and violated the basic rights of consumers in PNG, after getting them hooked on the drug.
The ICCC and IRC must investigate this because the lives of Papua New Guineans are at risk from this greedy corporate giant and if worse comes to worse a class action in courts if possible.