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State Should Monopolize Alcohol Production - Audit Chamber


Audit Chamber chairman Sergei Stepashin called for introducing state monopoly over alcohol production, as the share of illegal vodka on the Russian market is estimated at 30 to 50 percent, worth 70 bln roubles.

"The introduction of state monopoly not only will help block the illegal liquor on the market, but also boost budget revenues," Stepashin said in an interview with the newspaper Izvestia published on Wednesday.

"The government must set up a special state corporation, which would ensure the distribution of the whole output of produced ethyl alcohol. In this case, the producers will pay the excise tax. The output of legal products will increase and the budget will replenish," Stepashin said.

"We think it's expedient to lower the excise tax, to edge out illegal producers. It is also expedient to introduce the minimal price of vodka, and ban its sale below this level. The task to control the transportation should be assigned to police; and the Federal Service for regulating the alcohol market, which is now being set up, could join this work.

In Stepashin's opinion, the struggle against mass alcohol abuse by the population must be pursued in several directions.

"The idea of a state monopoly is just a part of a systemic complex of measures to de-alcoholize the country. It is important to introduce order in ethyl alcohol production, but of no less importance it is to make citizens' notions of healthy recreation more orderly. Sports. Cultural programs. Stability of families," he said.

"As for the state monopoly, the prime minister has already issued the instruction to assess all the consequences: economic, political and social. Incidentally, an experiment in some Russian provinces might be useful." The principles of the new anti-alcohol program are to be yet worked out during a broad public discussion, unlike the previous campaign, ordered from above without asking the public, he explained.

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