Finance minister AMA Muhith on Sunday said the government took steps to bring an end to consumption of bidis from the country.
Emerging from a meeting with bidi and cigarette manufacturers at his secretariat office, he said the consumption of bidi posed a serious health hazard.
Nearly 80 per cent of the country’s tobacco market is held by bidi and poor quality cigarette, he told reporters.
He, however, did not say against the consumption of cigarettes, price of which was much higher than bidi and dominate higher-segment of the tobacco market.
Officials attending the meeting said the multinational British American Tobacco company argued for banning the production of bidi.
But the bidi makers said BAT and other higher segmented cigarette manufacturers were marketing cheap cigarettes in violation of a previous government policy decision.
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed was present at the meeting that was also attended among others by National Board of Revenue chairman Nozibur Rahman.
The government is committed to reducing tobacco consumption gradually.
Officials said revenue receipt from the bidi companies was very low compared to income from the cigarette companies which annoyed Muhith.
According to NBR calculation, 98 per cent revenue comes from the cigarettes and only 2 per cent from the bidis.
In 2015-16, cigarette sector contributed Tk 16,325 crore revenue and bidi sector Tk 365 crore.
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