Bangladesh can earn up to 250B taka annually in additional revenue by raising taxes on tobacco products to 70%, experts say; tax increase would also help cut tobacco use in country

DHAKA, Bangladesh , May 12, 2014 () – The government can earn additional revenue of Tk 25,000 crore in a fiscal by raising tax on tobacco products to 70 percent, which will also help cut tobacco use in the country, according to experts.

"Additional revenue of Tk 25,000 crore in a fiscal could be earned by raising tax on tobacco products following the guideline of the World Health Organization while the government has targeted to collect revenue of about Tk 250,000 crore in next fiscal," Dr M Mostafa Zaman, WHO National Professional Officer (NCD), told a workshop on Monday.

National Tobacco Control Cell of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry in association with the WHO and Bangladesh and Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (Atma) organised the orientation workshop for journalists at Biam Foundation in the capital.

The workshop was arranged on the theme of World No Tobacco Day 2014, which is 'Raise taxes on tobacco'.

Dr Mostafa Zaman said if the government raises tax on tobacco and tobacco products, tobacco use will be cut significantly in the country.

"The government should take 10-15 year plan to increase tax on tobacco products to control tobacco use, aiming to protect public health from the tobacco related diseases," he said.

M Azam-E-Sadat, deputy secretary at the Health Ministry, said the Health Ministry sent the draft tobacco control rule to the Law Ministry for vetting and hoped that the rule will be announced soon to control tobacco use.

He said that although the government increases tax on tobacco products each year, the tobacco companies adopt many tactics to dodge tax, which hampers the anti-tobacco moves.

In her power-point presentation, Dr Rumana Haque, a teacher of Economics Department at the Dhaka University, said the price of cigarettes in Bangladesh is the lowest in the world.

If the price of tobacco products could not be hiked significantly keeping pace with the inflation, it will be a hard task to check tobacco use in the country.

WHO technical officer (tobacco control) Dr S Mahfuzul Huq, coordinator of National Tobacco Control Cell Amin Ul Ahsan and M Hasan Shahriar of Porgga, among others, also spoke at the workshop. Published by HT Syndication with permission from United News of Bangladesh. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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