The government can earn additional revenue of Tk1,500 crore a year if it imposes 70% specific excise tax on all sorts of cigarettes and the Padma Bridge could be built within seven years with the additional revenues, said eminent economist Prof Abul Barkat on Friday.
The government wants to build Padma Bridge. But the bridge could be built within seven years using the additional revenue that would come from cigarettes,” he said while addressing a press conference, reports UNB.
Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), Progga and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) jointly organised the press conference at a city hotel to express their reaction to taxation of tobacco in the proposed budget for fiscal 2013-14.
Prof Abul Barkat, also adviser to the HDRC, said after four years the government increased tax on bidi in the proposed budget, but the cigarette companies are getting benefits in the name of increasing price slab.
He said if the government imposes specific tax of Tk34 in a pack of cigarette (10 cigarettes) for all brands removing the price slabs, it will be 70% excise tax in retail price.
After imposing 70% tax on cigarette, its price will be increased and I will help reduce cigarette consumption and deaths caused by tobacco products, the economist said.
Barkat also stressed the need for adding Tk4.95 tax in every pack of bidi and imposing 70% tax in all sorts of smokeless tobacco to cut tobacco consumption in the country and protect people from tobacco-related diseases.
ATMA convener Ruhul Amin Rushd and coordinator of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) Taifur Rahman also spoke at the press conference.