Govt. pushes to increase import duty on cigarettes, introduce duty on bidi

The Maldivian government has proposed amendments to the Import/Export Act, which will allow an increase in import duty charged on cigarettes, and introduce import duty on bidi – hand-rolled unfiltered cigarettes.

The amendments were submitted to the Parliament on behalf of the government by Gan MP Mohamed Wisam.

Maldives currently charges 200 percent import duty on tobacco and tobacco products other than cigarettes and bidi.

The import duty on cigarettes is currently 25 percent, constituting to MVR 2 per cigarette stick.

The amendments submitted by Wisam propose increasing the import duty charged per cigarette to MVR 3, and introducing an import duty of MVR 3 per bidi stick.

Meanwhile, 200 percent import duty is to be charged on rolling paper.

Increasing the import duty on cigarettes had been part of the changes to import duty and customs fee declared on the projected state budget this year – changes which are projected to result in a MVR 558.2 million increase in state income.

The last change to import duty on cigarettes was implemented in 2017.


The amendments to the Import/Export Act are also designed to decrease the import duty charged on passenger vehicles cars, vans and jeeps from 200 percent to 100 percent.

A road in Male' City on March 20, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The decrease in import duty on the vehicles will apply only to brand new vehicles, while used cars, vans and jeeps will be charged an import duty of 300 percent.

Meanwhile, other brand new passenger vehicles will be charged an import duty of 100 percent, while other used passenger vehicles will be charged an import duty of 150 percent.

No changes have been proposed for the import duty on auto-cycles and motorcycles, while the five percent import duty charged on the engine and spare parts of motorized vehicles will be cut, along with the 15 percent import duty charged on helmets, bicycles and bicycle spare parts.

The legislature will affect the import duty on a large number of imported products.