'Higher tobacco tax, increases revenue saves lives'

‘Higher tobacco tax, increases revenue saves lives’

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Dhaka – A pre-budget press conference on ‘Which Type of Tobacco Tax Demanded’ was held at the conference lounge of National Press Club on Monday.
The programme held at the initiative of PROGGA and Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) was supported by Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) and in association of other anti-tobacco organizations including National Heart Foundation, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Association for Community Development (ACD), Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) and Tamak Birodhi Nari Jote (TABINAJ).A written statement, at the press conference, was presented by Dr. Rumana Haque, Professor, Economics Department, University of Dhaka. Eminent economist, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) was the chief guest at the event while Mohammad Aminur Rahman, former member (Tax Policy) of National Board of Revenue (NBR) attended as the special guest.
The press conference was presided over by National Professor Brig (Rtd.) Abdul Malik. Mortuza Haider Liton, chief crime correspondent of www.bdnews24.com and convener of ATMA; Shafiqul Islam Bangladesh Country Advisor, Vital Strategies; Farida Akhter, Executive Director, UBINIG ; ABM Zubair, Executive Director, PROGGA; Dr. Mahfuzul Haque Bhuiyan, Grants Manager, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) were among others present at the event. It was hosted by Nadira Kiron, Chief Reporter ATN Bangla and co-convener of ATMA.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzamman Ahmad said, “Slab-based tax structure for cigarettes is the way of preventing tax evasion. So, gradually we have to move for a single/uniform tax structure.” He also said that initiatives should be taken if we want to have a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040.
Mohammad Aminur Rahman said that “The matter of cigarette smuggling is baseless”. He hoped that the NBR will get rid of this tobacco company-led propaganda and stop celebrating the cigarette smuggling prevention week.
National Professor Brig (Rtd.) Abdul Malik said, “Increasing tobacco tax is important to battle against the damages caused by tobacco.”The press conference informed that the existing tobacco tax structure in Bangladesh is complex and tax is realised by ad valorem system which creates the additional complexity and increases the chances of tax evasion. Hence, demands of imposing specific tax for every packet or containers was placed at the press conference and a number of proposals was suggested. – Press release

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