Anti-tobacco campaign groups urged the government to increase the prices of tobacco products by introducing specific taxes to discourage consumption of it.
They made the call at a press conference, organised by research and advocacy organisation PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) at Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Eminent economist and convener of the National Anti-Tobacco Platform, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said, “Implementation of their budget proposals will increase revenue earnings, lower medical expenses, and expedite the realisation of the PM's vision of making Bangladesh tobacco-free by 2040.”
The organisations’ budget proposals for the FY2022-23 include increasing the retail price of low-tier cigarettes should be 50 for a 10-stick packet and specific supplementary duty (SD) Tk32.50.
They said the retail price of medium-tier 10-stick packet cigarettes should be set at Tk75 and SD at Tk48.75 and for the high-tier, the retail price and SD should be TK 120 and Tk78 respectively. The premium tier retail price and SD should be Tk150 and Tk97.50 respectively.
The proposals also recommended during the period from FY 2022-23 to FY2027-28, the number of cigarette tiers should be reduced from four to two.
This is because the existing four-tiered ad valorem structure has made cigarettes cheaper and more affordable, the speakers said.
The event was attended, among others, by Dr Rumana Huque, Professor of Department of Economics at the University of Dhaka, Syed Yusuf Saadat, Research Fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Bangladesh, ABM Zubair, Executive Director PROGGA.
Nadira Kiron, Co-convener of ATMA, hosted the event whereas Hasan Shahriar, Head of Tobacco Control, PROGGA, presented the budget proposals.