Colombia’s national tax office DIAN announced Wednesday that contraband smuggling, primarily of liquor and cigarettes, costs Colombia $1.5 billion a year.
The president of the Federation of Departments, Andres Gonzalez, said that “the numbers are staggering, liquor smuggling is estimated at $300 million annually, and that of cigarettes has increased significantly.”
He said the consequences are a significant loss of revenue for the health sector, which should receive the taxes from these products.
To combat the damaging statistics, DIAN and the Federation of Departments have signed an agreement which will implement more effective but “non-intrusive inspection controls at ports, airports and border crossings.”
DIAN director Juan Ricardo Ortega Lopez stated that the plan will also include a system of authentication and traceability of goods.
“This is a plan of action against smuggling in general, but particularly is targeted at two sectors: liquor and cigarettes,” he said, pinpointing the municipality of Maicao, in the northeastern department of La Guajira, as a key battleground given that it “is public knowledge that much of the bootlegging circulating in the country enters through that region.”
According to El Espectador, the total value of contraband goods entering the country is $4 billion.