Higher taxes demanded in Bangladesh

| May 26, 2016

Sixteen anti-tobacco groups in Bangladesh have demanded the imposition of increased duties on all tobacco products, according to a bdnews.com story.

The demand was made on Tuesday during a press conference at the National Press Club, ahead of the budget for the 2016-17 financial year.

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 tobacco products based on price slabs, alleging 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 bidis and 70 percent on retail prices of jarda and gul,” she said.

The campaigners further demanded that a two percent health development surcharge be imposed on tobacco products. The surcharge revenue should be used, they said, for tobacco control and tackling non-communicable diseases.

The campaigners said nearly seven million adults would give up smoking, while more than seven million youths would not start smoking if the government imposed a 70 percent excise duty on the retail prices of all types of cigarettes. This, they said, would help prevent the premature deaths of about six million people and provide the government with an additional Tk15 billion in revenue.

Similarly, if a 40 percent supplementary excise duty were imposed on all types of bidis, 3.4 million adults would give up smoking, 3.5 million youths would be discouraged from taking up smoking and 2.5 million premature deaths could be prevented. At the same time, the government would earn additional revenue of Tk7.2 billion.

The figures for preventable premature deaths in Bangladesh from smoking, 8.5 million, seems high since the most quoted global figure for tobacco-related deaths is six million.

Category: Breaking News

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