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24 March, 2019 09:58:54 AM
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Hike VAT on tobacco products

Speakers tell seminar
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Hike VAT on tobacco products
Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and chairman, National Anti-Tobacco Platform, Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, former Dhaka University vice-chancellor, Najnin Ahmed, senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, Nazneen Ahmed, senior Research Fellow, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), are seen at a seminar in the capital yesterday. photo: courtesy

Anti-tobacco platforms yesterday urged the government to increase VAT on tobacco products, especially on smokeless tobacco products, in the next national budget.

During a pre-budget press conference titled ‘The Tobacco Tax We Demand’ held at the Sagar Runi auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity, the speakers asked for implementing tobacco tax measures in the upcoming 2019-20 national budget.

They said the government should also prohibit electronic cigarette as it is becoming increasingly popular among young people.

In the press conference, the campaigners asked for the elimination of tariff value system in smokeless tobacco like jarda and gul. They want the government to change the tax base on the smokeless tobacco products on its retail prices like cigarette and bidi.

They proposed to set the retail price of jarda at Tk 35 per 10 grams and Tk 20 for 10 grams of gul. They also proposed to impose a supplementary duty of 45 per cent on the retail price of Jarda and gul and add a specific tax of Tk 5 per 10 grams of jarda and Tk 3 per 10 grams of gul.

The anti-tobacco campaigners also wanted the elimination of price distinction between the filter and non-filter bidis. For non-filter bidis, they asked to set the retail price at Tk 35 per pack of 25 sticks; and impose 45 per cent supplementary duty and add a specific tax of Tk 6.

For filter bidis, they asked to set the retail price at Tk 28

per pack of 20 sticks; and impose 45 per cent supplementary duty and add a specific tax of Tk 4.8.

The anti-tobacco campaigners called for an introduction of an equivalent specific supplementary duty (SD) across all tobacco products that should be regularly increased over time beyond inflation and income growth to ensure that the affordability of tobacco products continues to decline.

Renowned economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and chairman, National Anti-Tobacco Platform was the chief guest at the event. The special guest was Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Mahfuz Kabir, Research Director of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, made some recommendations (BIISS).

In his speech as the chief guest, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said, “We have been pushing for an overhaul of tobacco taxation system for a long time. NBR and other policymakers often express their consent and solidarity with us. However, the reality does not reflect their support for our demand.”

Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, former Dhaka University vice-chancellor, and Dr Najnin Ahmed, senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, also spoke there.

The press conference was organised with the support of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids at the initiative of PROGGA and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance, in association with anti-tobacco organisations including National Heart Foundation Bangladesh, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Association for Community Development, Young Power in Social Action, Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Arts, SUPRO and Tamak Birodhi Nari Jote.

BK

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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