The Polish National Board of Spirit Producers (KRPS) is continuing to lobby the government for a reduction on excise duty in the country's battle against the black market for alcohol.

The lobbyists for the distilling industry said this week that the treasury actually lost ZL2.76 billion (US$681m) in 2001 as a result of illegal producers and smuggling, calculating that the sale of illegal alcohol was equivalent to 35-36mln litres of pure spirit, compared to 70.7mln litres produced officially.

The KRPS said that the budget would actually gain ZL917m if excise rates were bought down by 30%.

However, the claim meant with opposition from government ranks. One finance minister was reported in the Polish press as saying:  "What is essential is that the effectiveness of the actions of the police and customs must be increased."