The speakers made the proposal at a seminar on ‘Tobacco Price and Tax’ organized by the private development agency Ahsania Mission Dhaka and the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) on Saturday (April 23).
Speakers at a seminar held at the ERF office in the capital’s Paltan said the prices of low-end cigarettes have remained unchanged in the budget for the last two years. There is a need to increase the price of cigarettes considering the increase in per capita income and inflation. According to the Prime Minister’s announcement, in order to make the country tobacco free by 2041, there is no alternative but to increase the price of tobacco products.
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Director of Development Coordination (Research) Abdullah Nadvi said in the main article that the current tariff structure for cigarettes is quite complex. So he suggested to make it easier.
At the same time, he proposed to increase the price of low-grade cigarettes from Tk 39 to Tk 50 per ten-bar cigarette and from Tk 63 to Tk 75 per pack of mid-range cigarettes. He also proposed to fix the price per packet of high quality cigarettes.
He said if the proposal is implemented, the government will get revenue. Besides, 13 lakh smokers will be reduced and 9 lakh young people will be discouraged from smoking.
Mokhlesur Rahman, Deputy Director, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, said in his welcome speech that the government has announced to build a tobacco free country by 2040. There is no alternative to raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products to achieve this goal.
Abdus Salam Mia, Grand Manager of CTF, said that tobacco control is essential to fulfill the dream of becoming a developed country. This will reduce poverty and reduce government spending on tobacco-related diseases.
SM Rashidul Islam, general secretary of the ERF, said the government has both crises over tobacco. The government wants to control tobacco, but there is also dependence on the tobacco sector for revenue. However, in order to reduce smoking, the price of cigarettes, especially low-end cigarettes, must be increased. Because 85% of cigarette smokers use low quality cigarettes.
ERF President Sharmin Rinvi presided over the function. General Secretary of the organization SM Rashidul Islam, Deputy Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission Mokhlesur Rahman and CTF Grands Manager Abdus Salam Mia spoke on the occasion.