Solomon Islands Tobacco Company, the sole maker of Pall Mall brand cigarette and local tobacco Emu Twist in the country, has slammed smokers with a 50% price increase on its famous Pall Mall Blue cigarette that came into force on November 1.
The unexpected price rise, which noticed smokers with surprise, found one cigarette packet now offering at $30 from the prior $20 at retail shops.
A single roll has increased from a dollar to $2.
Lilly Lomulo, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs manager of Solomon Islands Tobacco Company, the manufacturing facility of which is the property of British American Tobacco Australia, said that the price rise was caused by raising production costs, which the firm can no longer use.
“Considering the past four years, the firm has been absorbing the raise prices in raw materials and tariffs,” Mrs Lomulo said.
“But the company can no longer do this, consequently made the decision to take measure to satisfy company goals as a business entity,” Lilly Lomulo added.
The cigarette price increase has already influenced on customers who have to buy a single roll of cigarette for $2 on the streets.
A carton of Pall Mall blue has risen from $5,000 to $8,000.
Asked if the constant breakdown of machines the company had been having led to the price increase, Mrs Lomulo said Solomon Tobacco has its own restrictions.
“We have suffered from machine breakdowns in the past but this is not the cause for the rise in price. It is essentially due to the raise in imported raw materials and tariffs,” she said.
Mrs Lomulo explained that at the moment the company is running low on supply to fulfill the increasing demand.
Asked if this is a move taken by the firm to fulfill its yearly sales, volume and revenue targets, Mrs Lomulo said that this is a business and they have to satisfy shareholders expectations.
Nevertheless, she said that this price hike will not have an effect on its Emu twist product.
This unexpected and radical raise in cigarette price will suggest smokers will have to search for money to meet this addictive habit.
Now, smokers have go through cases of cigarette packets that have less number of cigarettes in them, different taste, some identified defects, which boosts problems of product quality.
But Mrs Lomulo said until these are announced to them they will not know the reason of the problem.