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Govt issues fresh ministerial direction on tobacco licences

Issuing further tobacco licences could pose a ‘serious reputational risk’ to the Rock, the Gibraltar Government said as it announced a new Ministerial Direction on the issue.

The Business Licensing Authority recently took over responsibility for tobacco licencing following the Far Trading Act 2015.

The Minister for Business Neil Costa has issued a new direction which mirrors the Chief Minister’s previous direction in 2014.

The new direction will assist the Business Licensing Authority on the government’s position regarding tobacco licencing.

“[Issuing of tobacco licences] may have a negative impact on the day to day lives of those living and working in Gibraltar,” a government statement said.

According to the statement Chief Minister Fabian Picardo issued Ministerial Direction to the Trade Licensing Authority in June 2014.

This direction “strongly discouraged” the Trade Licensing Authority from issuing any new trade licences for retail and wholesale unless an existing licence was surrendered.

Under this direction the only way someone would be granted a licence is if another licence was surrendered, terminated or rendered permanently inactive. This ensures that the local tobacco business does not grow.

An exemption to this rule was made for cigarette packets to be sold by vending machines and large supermarkets.