Few months ago hope was allowed for a promising Tunisian vape market, yet this little ray of sunshine soon gave way to gray clouds. Struck by the seal of the ban, hunted by the customs services, seeing themselves remove all hope of working legally, hundreds of e-cigarette traders are in a delicate situation, even precarious for some.
Complicated ... This is the most appropriate term for the current situation of the vape market in Tunisia. While the market was flourishing, that's the end of the sentence: it is the RNTA, and it alone, that is the monopoly of the market of the vape. Since the decision announced in 2014, the blocking is total. The state is not ready to propose solutions. Some traders are forced to enter the circuits of contraband, others to skim the corridors of the administrations to wrest, in vain, the sacrosanct derogation.
In a special folder the site Businessnews introduces Karim as part of this fringe of Tunisians who do not let go of the adversity of a sclerotic bureaucracy. With his partner, he launched his company in the rules of the art: passage through the APII, a status of sale of electronic cigarettes and e-liquid in bulk and in detail, obtaining the license, the register of trade and customs code.
Having in hand all the paperwork necessary to work in the legality, he launches his order with his supplier in France. By contacting the Ministry of Commerce to transit the goods, the supplier faces a major obstacle. It would require a special exemption to get the goods out of Customs. Except that this special derogation is not issued by the Department of Commerce but by that of Finance, through the National Board of Tobacco and Matches (RNTA) since holding the monopoly. Karim is not discouraged so he wants to follow the legal procedure. He submits his application in due form so that the RNTA management grants him the special exemption. Since the 31 May 2018, he is waiting. It is no longer an obstacle that it encounters, but an insurmountable wall.
« I have a society that can not be more legal. I want to pay my taxes and therefore to bail out the state coffers. I refuse to operate illegally. Every manager I meet, repeats the same thing: you will have your answer next week. The weeks are past and still nothing! I finally managed to have several interviews with the DG of the RNTA, it kicks in touch each time by promising possible solutions that are slow to come true. Meanwhile, I remain in expectation » says Karim.
EMPLOYMENT DELETIONS, PRECARITY AND A MARKET THAT DOES NOT GROW
By granting the monopoly to the RNTA, the State has removed jobs for traders, suppliers, vendors who wish to evolve legally in this activity. A monopoly that dissuades Entrepreneurship, which kills the competition without which there would be no progress, no innovation and where the consumer does not find his account. Why then boost the market by healthy competition? It is better to stagnate, to stumble against a long monopoly tradition is not it? The monopoly granted to the RNTA is all the more absurd because the Régie is unable to meet the needs of customers.
Connoisseurs keep repeating, the e-cigarette market is constantly evolving « and by its management procedures, hampered by a heavy bureaucracy, the National Board is unable to follow these changes. We can not today hope to sell an obsolete model while electronic cigarettes are passed to new generations » confided a trader to Business News in a previous article.
Moreover, the RNTA had ordered a large stock of e-liquid that she had trouble selling. The board would still have this stock on the arm, having fallen into disuse and not having outlets able to meet the needs of the community of vapers.
The urgency is here! In order to avoid an uncontrollable spread of the black market in Tunisia, it is essential that the state look into a solution where the trader and the customer will necessarily win.