Hike in excise duty on tobacco products demanded

Hike in excise duty on tobacco products demanded
May 24 16:11 2016 Print This Article

Sixteen anti-tobacco groups made the demand ahead of the budget for the 2016-17 fiscal at a press conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

Joint Convenor of the Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) Nadira Kiran called upon the government to do away with the system of levying taxes on the tobacco products based on price slabs. She alleged that this system was being misused to evade tax.

“Government should impose 70 percent supplementary excise duty on the retail prices of all kinds of cigarettes; 40 percent on biris and 70 percent on retail prices of jarda and gul,” Nadira Kiran demanded.

The anti-tobacco campaigners further demanded that two percent health development surcharge be imposed on tobacco products.

The revenue mobilised by imposing the surcharge should be used in tobacco control and tackling non-communicable diseases, they added.

Citing a research report, the campaigners said nearly seven million adults would give up smoking, while more than seven million youths would never start smoking if government impose 70 percent excise duty on retail prices of all types of cigarettes.

This would help prevent the untimely demise of around six million people and government would earn additional revenue of Tk 15 billion, the campaigners said.

Similarly if 40 percent supplementary excise duty was imposed on all types of biris, 3.4 million adults would give up smoking, 3.5 million youths would be discouraged from taking up smoking and 2.5 million untimely demise could be prevented, the said. Besides, government would earn additional revenue of Tk 7.2 billion.

Founder of National Heart Foundation Dr Abdul Malik said, “It no longer requires any proof to say that cigarettes affect health. It affects every parts of the body. If this cannot be prevented our race will be crippled.”

At the press conference, anti-tobacco groups cited three reasons to buttress their demand for increasing taxes on tobacco products.

Firstly, they said Bangladesh is among those countries where prices of cigarettes are very low. It’s placed only after Nepal and Myanmar in the list of countries where cigarettes are less expensive.

Secondly, prices of tobacco products became cheaper than essential commodities and thirdly it could be a source of sustainable revenue for the government.

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