News Title :Experts want tobacco prices to go up further (June 11, 2017)
Speakers demanded an increase in the price of tobacco products so that the people refrain from consuming it more
Speakers have expressed their concern about the increase in smoking-related deaths following the reduction of the real cost of the tobacco products in the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2017-2018.
They expressed their concern at a press conference over the proposed budget held at the National Press Club on Saturday.
Chairman of Palli Karma- Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said: “Sound health is the most important factor in the sustainable development goal, so it is very important to control the use of tobacco.”
He also demanded an increase in the price of tobacco products so that the people refrain from consuming it more.
Minimum price of local brand cigarette has been fixed at Tk27 from Tk23 for per 10 sticks and the supplementary duty has been estimated at 52%, which has been increased by 2%. The increase rate is less compared to the last fiscal year.
According to 2016-2017 fiscal year, the minimum price of such category cigarette was supposed to increase by 28% this year, but it was instead proposed at 17.4%.
On the other hand, even though the minimum price of international brand cigarettes was proposed at Tk35 for 10 sticks, the multinational tobacco company British American Tobacco Company (BATC) recently published an advertisement calling for the rate of their lower quality cigarette to be set at at Tk27.
Prof Brigadier (retd) Abdul Malek, member (Tax policy) of National Board of Revenue (NBR) Md Amanur Rahman, Dhaka University’s Economics department Prof Dr Ruman Haque, among the others, were present in the programme.
PROGGA and anti tobacco media alliance -ATTA organised the programme in collaboration with National Heart Foundation, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Association for Community Development (ASD), Aid Foundation, Tobacco Control and Research Sell (TCRS) and Anti tobacco women Jot.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bidi Workers Federation stated an agitation programme in front of the Central Shaheed Minar for realisation of their five-point demand.
The workers criticised the tax hike on bidi industry instead of cigarettes, and demanded an immediate withdrawal of it.
The federation leaders threatened to bring down Finance Minister Muhith and National Board of Revenue Chairman Md Nojibur Rahman through agitation if their demands were not met.
Raise taxes to discourage tobacco consumption June 11, 2017
Anti-tobacco campaigners yesterday demanded an increase in tax rates on tobacco products as the proposed taxation policy for fiscal 2017-18 will keep the items within people’s reach.
Tax on tobacco products such as cigarettes was not increased in accordance with last year’s increased buying power of consumers, per capita income and inflation, they said.
Speakers made the observations at a press conference jointly organised by Progotir Jonno Gyan (Progga) and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) in association with different anti-tobacco campaigning organisations at Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Tax on the most consumed item of them all, high-end premium brand cigarettes as well as smokeless tobacco products, will remain the same this fiscal year, they said, adding that only two percent tax increase was proposed for local low quality cigarettes in this year’s budget.
Under the circumstances, tobacco products will even seem more affordable to the consumers whose buying power have increased considerably. Therefore, the government should raise taxes on these harmful products so the people are discouraged in consuming these, said the speakers.
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said youths slowly become addicted to various drugs after getting used to consuming tobacco products such as cigarette. However, its price was not increased according to people’s affordability.
“Rather than being discouraged, the youths are being encouraged to consume tobacco due to such small price increase.”
Brig (retd) Prof Abdul Malik, founder of National Heart Foundation, said the government spends double the amount it earns from the tobacco sector for patients suffering from diseases caused by tobacco.
Advising the abolition of the current complex slabs of taxation on tobacco products, he also demanded higher taxes on the harmful products.
Prof Rumana Haque of Dhaka University, former National Board of Revenue Member Mohammad Aminur Rahman and ATMA Convenor Liton Hayder also spoke among others.
Bidi workers from the various districts attended the programme which was presided over by DU’s History department Prof Dr Misbah Kamal.
Bidi workers have been protesting against the taxes proposed on tobacco products in the national budget for several days.