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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Friday, May 31
Excise-duty on tobacco to increase gradually

Netgazeti reports that excise-duty will increase on tobacco during the next 4-5 years, step-by-step. The Head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), Amiran Gamkrelidze said first the state has to approve of the state strategy on control of tobacco.

According to Gamkrelidze, May 31st has been celebrated as the worldwide "no tobacco day" since 1988. A state commission was created on March 15th to work on the control of tobacco usage, chaired by the Prime Minister. At the same time, a working group is currently meeting to discuss the issue, at the Ministry of Healthcare chaired by Minister Davit Sergeenko, Gamkrelidze stated.

The state strategy on tobacco was discussed at the cabinet session on Thursday, which according to Gamkrelidze considers intensification of control in two main directions. He said, firstly, a more powerful advertising campaign is necessary in order to reach a consensus on the fact that smoking is dangerous for your health, so that smokers come to the realization that they should quit and, secondly, smoking should be completely forbidden in all public places. Gamkrelidze also explained that the increase of excise-duty is a well proven method all over the world. Under the current legislation, the section dealing with the creation of a non-smoking area, which would amount to 50% of the total space of the restaurant or bar, is unfortunately ignored.

Possible moratorium over giving land to foreigners

Liberali reports that foreigners and foreign legal entities registered in Georgia, may be prohibited from possessing land until January 1st, 2017. The proposed changes to the law on the possession of agricultural lands, which is being written by Zurab Tkemaladze and Gigla Agulashvili, will not affect land which is already owned by foreigners or foreign legal entities.

Moreover, the project considers the creation of a united strategy on possession of agricultural lands to rationally use the agricultural resources and create regulations for the protection of the lands.

The authors say the draft law aims at protecting economic safety, sovereignty as well as the cultural and historical heritage of the country. This is why foreigners will be temporarily restricted from owning Georgian lands while the state considers the best way to proceed.