Lawmakers at an online programme said the government should put a higher tax on tobacco products in order to cut tobacco consumption.
Though taxes on tobacco increase every year, its consumption is not falling as expected, as the per capita income is rising, they said.Hence, stakeholders need to work together to ensure that taxes on all tobacco products go up further effectively, they added.
They were addressing a pre-budget online roundtable session titled “Further Effective Tobacco Taxation: Expected Roles of Honorable Members of the Parliament during the Budget Session” organised by Unnayan Shamannay on Sunday.
The roundtable session was moderated by eminent economist and Chair of Unnayan Shamannay Dr. Atiur Rahman.
In his speech, Dr. Atiur said they recommend increasing retail price of all tobacco products in the budget for FY 2021-22, and specific supplementary duties on the increased prices have also been proposed.
Parliamentarians could play an effective role in implementing these proposals, he said.
If these proposals are implemented, it would be possible to stop about two million people from consuming tobacco, he said.On the other hand, Dr. Atiur said, it could bring an end to 8 lakh pre-mature deaths and additional revenue of Tk 3,400 crore could be earned.
Members of the parliament who participated in the online session were Md. Shahiduzzaman (Meherpur-2), Md. Aftab Uddin Sarker (Nilphamari-1), Md. Monowar Hossain Chowdhury (Gaibandha-4), Zakia Parvin Khanam (women seat-18), Shri Biren Sikder (Magura-2), Md. Nurul Islam Talukder (Bogura-3), Kh. Momota Hena Lovely (women seat-31), A K M Sorwar Jahan (Kushtia-1), Md. Harunur Rashid (Chapainawabganj-3), Pankaj Nath (Barisal-4), and Gloria Jharna Sarker (women seat-30), reads a press release.