Thursday, 7 July, 2022

97 lawmakers urge increasing tobacco products taxes

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 21st June, 2022 08:00:55 PM
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97 lawmakers urge increasing tobacco products taxes

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Some 97 Members of Parliament (MPs) has written letter to the finance minister recommending to increase the prices of tobacco and tobacco products and increasing the tax on the products including cigarettes in a bid to save public health.

They said if the tobacco is made unavailable then it will be possible to save innumerable people from premature death and to keep away from using tobacco uses if this recommendation is implemented. 

If the tobacco tax and prices are increased then earning additional revenue will be possible which also will help to achieve Tobacco-Free Bangladesh by 2040 announced by the Prime Minister.

The 97 lawmakers of the parliament signed the letter initiated by the ‘Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health & Wellbeing’. 

The letter was handed over to Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem, chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), by Dr. Nizam Uddin Ahmed, executive director and director, Dr. Md. Rafiqul Islam of ShasthoShurokkha Foundation, the secretariat organization of ‘Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health & Wellbeing’.

 Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem said raising the tax on tobacco products is now under the jurisdiction and consideration of the Members of Parliament. “If they recommend raising this issue in the Parliament session, it will be possible to implement it by coordinating the Ministry of Finance and us (National Board of Revenue).”

In the letter, MPs recommend increasing the price of lower and medium tire cigarettes and bidis to save low-income people. 

It also mentioned that, if the recommendations are implemented, the additional revenue could be used to achieve SDG's target of 3.4 per cent - to reduce non-communicable disease deaths by one-third by 2030.

Increasing the price of low-end cigarettes could protect low-income cigarette users.  They are expending their 21% income on tobacco products. If this money is spent on education instead of tobacco products, it will be possible to increase the total cost of education of their children by 11%.