Anti-tobacco organisations and activists on Tuesday demanded that the prices of cigarettes and other tobacco products should be increased through imposing specific taxes on the products.
Implementation of the proposals will make the tobacco items costlier and help the government to earn Tk 3,400 crore in additional revenues, experts and activists said at a virtual press briefing.
Research and advocacy organisation PROGGA and the Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) organised the briefing.
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha chairman and former Dhaka University vice-chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique presided over the briefing.
National Anti-Tobacco Platform convener Qazi Khaliquzzaman Ahmad, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies senior research fellow Nazneen Ahmed, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies research director Mahfuz Kabir and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Bangladesh lead policy adviser Md Mostafizur Rahman, among others, spoke at the briefing.
PROGGA and ATMA demanded that the National Board of Revenue should impose at least 65 per cent supplementary duty on the final retail prices of all brands of cigarettes along with increasing the retail prices in the national budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2021-2022.
They said that the retail price of low-tier cigarettes should be set at Tk 50 for 10 sticks and Tk 32.50 as specific duty should be imposed while the price of medium-tier cigarettes should be set at Tk 70 for 10 sticks along with imposition of Tk 45.50 as SD.
In the high-tier, the retail price should be set at Tk 110 for 10 sticks along with imposition of Tk 71.50 as SD.
The retail price of premium-tier cigarettes should be set at Tk 140 for 10 sticks along with imposition of Tk 91 as SD, the organisations said.
They also proposed that the prices of other tobacco products, including bidi, jarda and gul, should be increased along with the imposition of specific duty to make the products costlier.
In addition to specific duty, the existing 15 per cent VAT and 1 per cent surcharge will remain applicable on tobacco products, they said.
They said that implementation of the proposals would prevent premature deaths of nearly 3.90 lakh smoking adults and four lakh youth and encourage 11 lakh people to quit smoking.
PROGGA tobacco control project head Hasan Shahriar placed the proposals while ATMA co-convener Nadira Krion moderated the programme.
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