The e-cigarette has some success in Tunisia, which has more than 70 specialized retail stores for a market of almost 20.000 "vapers". Since 2014 however, many shops had to put the key under the door, new gives forced: it is now the RNTA (National Board of Tobacco and Matches) which holds the monopoly of the market of the "vape".
In Tunisia, the sale of vape products is subject, since 2014, to the monopoly of the National Board of Tobacco and Matches (RNTA). From then on, these shops that were just starting to swarm in the country were " convicted To disappear. The phenomenon we have been able, moreover, to note it in certain districts chic of the capital, where these small stalls in which liked to meet the initiates to exchange on the best models to acquire or on their favorite aromas of e-liquid, have had to lower their curtains.
This situation, which subsequently led to a shortage but which also inevitably opened the market to smuggling, has long been criticized by the Association of Electronic Cigarette to Stop Smoking (ACEAF).
The question was asked to the vape traders, who try, somehow, to continue their activities, by word of mouth or by offering their products illegally in other shops or on the internet, and their response was the next one :
« We can not help it because the RNTA, which has been given the monopoly of the products of the vape is unable to meet the needs of customers. The e-cigarette market is constantly evolving and through its management procedures, hampered by heavy bureaucracy, the National Board is unable to follow these changes. We can not hope today to sell an obsolete model while e-cigarettes are passed on to new generations and it is these products, not available at the RNTA, that we offer today to our customers who request them. Also, it is really amazing to want to hold the monopoly of an alternative product to another on which they also hold the monopoly. Basically, they sell cigarettes and products that help stop them, look for the mistake! ».
Recalcitrant traders are tracked down by the customs, which since November have increased the raids to seize the "illegal" merchandise, now assimilated to smuggling. Our colleagues from Businessnews have tried to understand if the sellers have not tried to submit invoices to exculpate themselves and again this is the impasse.
« The authorities refuse to issue sales licenses to the vaping shops, which is why we do not have invoices. They want force us to deal with the RNTA, which does not hold the products we market. Basically, the RNTA does nothing to develop the market of the vape and the services of the customs do not let us do it ourselves "Said a trader, who also had to close shop.
Targeted by an action that had a great echo on social networks, and accused of the misfortunes of a suffocating sector, the National Board partnered with the ACEAF to try to find concrete solutions allowing a recovery of activity more "controlled".
« We are working to unblock the situation. We studied with the Association ways to set up. A specification will be presented to a commission at the Ministry of Finance to study the possibility of delivering licenses to traders. Obviously this will depend on the agreement of the Minister Revealed a source at RNTA.
« The solution, to the extent that we are effectively unable to keep pace with market developments, is to deliver import and sales authorizations to merchants. They will thus be able, by means of specific taxes, to provide themselves with products while being subjected to rigorous conditions, to avoid any skidding and contraband and we would thus maintain, in another form, our monopoly She continued.
source : Businessnews.com.tn