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Anti-tobacco forum angry with Muhith
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Anti-tobacco forum angry with Muhith

Two anti-tobacco organisations have expressed frustration over tobacco taxation alleging that Finance Minister AMA Muhith repeatedly backs tobacco companies while the proposed budget drops the Prime Minister’s directives on tobacco-free state.In an immediate budget reaction, PROGGA and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) said the multinational tobacco companies have been relieved once again with almost unchanged tax rate on the pricy cigarettes on the proposed national budget for 2016-17 fiscal years.
But, the statement said, such proposals are extremely harming the public health considering the per capita income growth and inflation inside the country. As a result, the consumers of such segments would be able to purchase the same quantity of cigarettes in a lower price after the budget, and by the same time, the government revenue from cigarettes will not increase.
Muhith in his budget speech said the price of the lowest slab of cigarettes would be fixed and also proposed Tk 23 instead of Tk 18 for per 10 cigarette sticks. The hike is about 27.77 percent. However, proposals have been made that the high segment should be kept by Tk 45 and above instead of the proposed range between Tk 44 – 69, and the premium segment will remain unchanged at Tk 70 and above. Proposals have also been made to make the supplementary duty to 62 and 64 percent respectively by 1 percent hike for the two levels.
The anti-tobacco organisations said the Prime Minister has declared for effective tobacco taxation policy, as part of making the country tobacco-free by 2040, which will reduce the purchasing capacity of tobacco products and result in an increase of revenue from the tobacco sector.
The proposed budget for fiscal 2016-17 does not have any significant reflection of such directives of the premier, they said.