SOLOMON Tobacco has slapped smokers with a 50 per cent price hike on its popular Pallmall Blue cigarette effective as of yesterday.
The sudden price increase, which caught smokers by surprise, saw a single packet cigarette now selling at $30 from the previous $20 at retail shops.
A single roll has shot up from a dollar to $2.
Corporate and Regulatory Affairs manager Lilly Lomulo said the price increase was brought about by increasing production costs, which the company can no longer absorb.
“For the past four years, the company has been absorbing the increase costs in raw materials and tariffs,” Mrs Lomulo said.
“But we can no longer do this, therefore decided to take this measure to meet company targets as a business entity,” she added.
This decision has already had an impact on customers who have to purchase a single roll of cigarette for $2 on the streets.
A carton of Pallmall blue has increased from $5,000 to $8,000.
Asked if the continuous breakdown of machines the company had been experiencing contributed to the price hike, Mrs Lomulo said like any other businesses, Solomon Tobacco has its own constraints.
“We have experienced machine breakdowns in the past but this is not the reason for the increase in price. It is basically because of the increase in imported raw materials and tariffs,” she said.
Mrs Lomulo revealed currently the company is running low on supply to meet the increasing demand.
Asked if this is a measure taken by the company to meet its yearly sales, volume and profit targets, Mrs Lomulo said this is a business and “we have to meet shareholders expectations”.
However, she said this price increase will not affect its Emu twist product.
This sudden and drastic increase in cigarette price will mean smokers will have to dig deep into their pockets to satisfy this addictive habit.
Recently, customers have come across cases of cigarette packets that have less number of cigarettes in them, different taste, some discovered defects, which raises issues of product quality.
But Mrs Lomulo said unless these are reported to them they will not know the cause of the problem.
By Daniel Namosuia
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