MPs call for effective tobacco taxation in budget
Several MPs at a seminar in 2022-23 budget proposals said tobacco tax proposals in the budget for FY 2022-23 is negligible and frustrating. The effective tobacco taxation proposals pushed by different anti-tobacco organizations have not been reflected at all in the budget.
The post-budget seminar was organized by Unnayan Shamannay at Bishwoshahitto Kendro in the city.
MPs present were Umme Fatema Nazma, Umme Kulsum Smriti, doctor Samil Udding Ahmed Shimul, Md. Aftab Uddin Sarker, Md. Harunur Rashid, Md. Shifuzzaman Shikhor, Shirin Akhter and Fazle Hossain Badshah.
Former Governor of Bangladesh Bank and Unnayan Shamannay Chairperson- Professor Dr. Atiur Rahman joined the event digitally. He said effective tobacco taxation proposals pushed by different organizations to significantly increase prices are not getting proper attention. Budget proposals call for slight increase.
There were proposals/recommendations he said to introduce specific supplementary duties on tobacco products instead of continuing with the ad-valorem taxation mechanism.
But Dr Rahman pointed out that if the tax rates proposed in budget 2022-23 remain unchanged, then the country will not be able to get all the benefits of effective tobacco taxation.
A background note further said if the proposed tax rates are allowed to continue then- instead of lowering the sales of cigarette there will be a stark increase in cigarette sales in the coming fiscal year.
Moreover, as cigarettes are already being sold at prices higher than the ones proposed in the budget, the cigarette companies will have more scope to evade taxes.
Shirin Akhter, MP pointed out that prior to the ongoing budget session at least 100 MPs had sent letters calling for effective tobacco taxation proposals but these were not reflected in the budget. This is really 'shameful'.
Fazle Hossain Badshah, hoped all stakeholders including the MPs will be working together for realization of effective tobacco taxation.