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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Implementing anti-tobacco organisations’ budget proposals will generate 10,000C in revenue

About 37.8 million adults in Bangladesh use tobacco products and claims 161,000 lives every year

Update : 01 Apr 2024, 08:42 PM

According to experts, implementing budget proposals from anti-tobacco organizations could generate an additional Tk10,000 crore in revenue, offering significant relief in addressing the current financial crisis. They also emphasized that this move could potentially prevent the premature deaths of nearly 1.1 million Bangladeshis, with almost half a million of them being youths.

These points were highlighted during a journalists’ workshop titled “Tobacco Tax and Price Measures: National Budget FY 2024-25,” jointly organized by PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and ATMA (Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance) in the capital on Monday. The experts pointed out that raising tobacco product prices through effective taxation would also reduce the government's healthcare expenses related to tobacco-induced diseases.

Furthermore, they stressed the importance of increasing the prices and tax rates of low-tier cigarettes in the upcoming national budget for FY 2024-25. This measure aims to make these products less affordable for youths and the economically disadvantaged.

The workshop saw the participation of 27 journalists from various print, television, and online media outlets. Dr Syed Mahfuzul Huq, National Professional Officer at the World Health Organization (WHO) Bangladesh, and Hasan Shahriar, Project Head of Tobacco Control at PROGGA, delivered the keynote presentation to the journalists.

According to their presentation, the retail price of low-tier cigarettes should be increased to Tk60 for 10 sticks from the existing Tk45, followed by a 63% supplementary duty. 

The prices of 10 sticks should be set at Tk80, Tk130 and Tk170 for medium, high, and premium tiers respectively, followed by the existing 65% supplementary duty on these three tiers.

For non-filtered bidis, the retail price should be Tk25 for 25 sticks and Tk20 for 20 sticks in the case of filtered sticks. Moreover, both prices should be followed by a 45% supplementary duty. 

Regarding chewing tobacco, the retail price for 10 grams of jarda and gul should be Tk55 and Tk30, followed by 60% supplementary duty.

The budget proposals also suggested continuing the existing 15% VAT and 1% health development surcharge (HDS) on the retail prices of tobacco products.

They also said that the prices of all types of tobacco products in Bangladesh are already considerably low compared to the prices of essential commodities.

The low-tier cigarettes constitute 75% of the total cigarette market of Bangladesh but the supplementary duty imposed on this tier is merely 58%.

Among the discussants were Md Abdus Salam, program's manager (Bangladesh) for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Liton Haider, convener of ATMA, Mizan Chowdhury, co-convener of ATMA, and ABM Zubair, executive director, Progga.

About 37.8 million adults in Bangladesh use tobacco products (smoked and smokeless) and tobacco claims 161,000 lives every year in Bangladesh.  

In 2017-18, the toll of tobacco use in the national economy (due to medical expenses and loss of productivity) stood at Tk30,560 crore while the revenue generated from the tobacco sector stood at only Tk22,810 crore.

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