Attempts by the authorities to limit the list of places for the sale of alcohol and tobacco products, contained in bill No. 5805, registered on July 19 by MP Heorhiy Mazurashu (Servant of the People faction), will lead to an increase in the price of these products, and create additional financial burden for business, therefore it should be rejected, the European Business Association (EBA) said on its website on Friday.
According to the explanatory note to the document, the bill proposes to limit the sale of beer (except non-alcohol), alcohol, low-alcohol beverages, table wines, tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, liquids used in electronic cigarettes, devices for consuming tobacco products without heating them only to specialized fixed outlets (shops) where no other goods are sold than those listed above.
The association noted that this legislative initiative will require capital investments from businesses to equip separate sales outlets, which will lead to an increase in the price of legal products and an increase in the price gap between counterfeit and legal goods.
In this regard, the EBA appealed to parliamentarians with a request not to support such amendments and to reject bill No. 5805 during consideration.
"The number of official sales outlets may significantly decrease, or even disappear altogether, and thus encourage the consumption of counterfeit products. Questions are also raised about the timing of the proposed amendments. It is envisaged that the law will enter into force on the next day after its publication. Since it is physically impossible to create a place of trade in one day, this will stop the sale of alcohol and tobacco products in Ukraine for a long time," the association said.
The EBA also notes that the proposed amendments may limit competition between business entities in the Ukrainian market. According to it, in most EU countries, there is no such experience of restricting trade in alcohol and tobacco products. In addition, there are no separate rules for regulating the sale of alcohol and tobacco products in public catering establishments.
"The bill does not take into account an assessment of financial and economic consequences of the introduction of such amendments for business and the state, for example, budget losses from a decrease in the number of licenses for retail trade in tobacco and alcohol products," Svitlana Mykhailovska, the EBA Deputy Director for Advocacy, said.
According to her, the EBA shares the desire of the MP to minimize the impact of binge drinking and smoking on the nation's health, but the proposed method is selective and inconsistent. In addition, the association did not see in the context of bill No. 5805 an analysis of law enforcement practice and statistical data, which would indicate the ineffectiveness and insufficiency of existing restrictions and bans on the sale of alcohol beverages and tobacco products.