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Higher taxation on tobacco demanded to prevent death

Published : Wednesday, 3 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 259

Higher taxation on tobacco demanded to prevent death

Higher taxation on tobacco demanded to prevent death

At  a workshop titled "Tobacco Tax and Price Measures: National Budget FY 2024-25," held at the BMA Bhaban in Dhaka, speakers emphasized the critical role of effective taxation in reducing tobacco consumption and increasing government revenue.
The event on Monday, jointly organized by PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and the Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA), drew participation from 27 journalists across various media.
Participants advocated for a strategic increase in the prices and tax rates of tobacco products, particularly low-tier cigarettes, in the FY 2024-25 national budget to limit accessibility for young and low-income individuals.
This proposal comes against the backdrop of tobacco products in Bangladesh being notably cheaper than essential commodities, a disparity highlighted through an analysis by the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM), comparing price hikes between essential goods and cigarettes from 2021 to 2023.
The workshop revealed that low-tier cigarettes, which make up 75% of Bangladeshs cigarette market, are subject to only a 58% supplementary duty. By increasing the prices and duty on these cigarettes, the move could significantly encourage quitting among low-income tobacco users.
Proposed price adjustments include raising the retail price of low-tier cigarettes to BDT 60 for 10 sticks, up from BDT 45, with a 63% supplementary duty. The prices for medium, high, and premium tiers would also see increases, with corresponding duties. Similar adjustments are proposed for non-filtered and filtered bidis, as well as smokeless tobacco products like jarda and gul, all accompanied by increased supplementary duties and the continuation of existing VAT and health development surcharges.
Implementing these proposals could generate an additional BDT 10,000 crore in revenue, aiding the government in addressing financial needs while potentially preventing nearly 1.1 million premature deaths, including a significant number of youths.
Keynote presentations were delivered by Dr. Syed Mahfuzul Huq, National Professional Officer of the World Health Organization (WHO) Bangladesh, and Hasan Shahriar, Project Head of Tobacco Control in PROGGA.
Discussions featured insights from Abdus Salam of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Liton Haider of ATMA, Mizan Chowdhury, also from ATMA, and ABM Zubair of PROGGA.
With tobacco use prevalent among 37.8 million adults and causing 161,000 deaths annually in Bangladesh, the workshops proposals aim to mitigate these figures significantly, making a strong case for their inclusion in the forthcoming budget.    —UNB






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