Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance of PROGGA, a non-government organization, said it was “utterly frustrated” the government did not take any stronger measures to build a tobacco-free nation
Tobacco products are expected to increase in price by Tk10 to Tk20 per packet under finance minister AMA Muhith’s proposed national budget for FY2018-19.
Placing the budget before parliament yesterday, Muhith signalled his intention to raise the supplementary duty from 20% to 25 on packs of cigarettes and bidi - a type of locally-manufactured cheap cigarette made of unprocessed tobacco wrapped in leaves.
“Supplementary duty is imposed in order to protect our domestic industries from the growing international competition,” Muhith said.
The minister told MPs the move had also been made after considering the “adverse health effects” of tobacco products.
Although the tax hike is still only a proposal, the Dhaka Tribune found the prices of locally-manufactured cigarette and bidi had already increased by Tk0.5 to Tk1 per stick when this correspondent visited the Karwan Bazar area on Thursday.
“The prices of cigarettes have already shot up by Tk10 to Tk20 per packet,” Ratan Mia, a cigarette seller, said.
Ratan said since Wednesday, they have been selling the Sheikh and Pilot brands at Tk65 per packet, Navy and Hollywood at Tk100, Star at Tk110, Gold Leaf at TK150, and Winston at Tk160.
Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance of PROGGA, a non-government organization, said it was “utterly frustrated” the government did not take any stronger measures to build a tobacco-free nation, despite its statement of commitment.
“The finance minister in his budget briefing discussed the government’s plans to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2041, but ironically, the budget he placed does not show any sign of that intention,” PROGGA said in a press release.
“The minister has talked about bringing down the number of price slabs but kept the existing four price slabs intact in the proposed budget. Moreover, the budget does not mention any initiative to curb the consumption of bidi.”
In Thursday’s budget proposal, Muhith also proposed increasing supplementary duty on energy drinks to 35% from the existing 25%.