Proposals were made to reduce the number of smokers and tobacco takers by increasing duty on tobacco related products in the budget of 2019-20 fiscal year. The health ministry has proposed for fixing the lowest rate of per stick cigarette at 9 taka.
Health Minister Zahid Malek proposed this in a letter submitted to Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
In the letter proposal was given for essential changes in the existing tax framework for all types of tobacco related products including cigarette keeping ahead the upcoming budget. There proposal was made to increase price of low cost cigarette per stick by at least four taka.
Along with this additional eight taka will be added with the existing price of per stick Benson, Gold Leaf and other equivalent brands of cigarettes. At present in the market the lowest retail price of per stick cigarette is 4 taka and the highest is 12 taka. As per the new calculation the price of Benson may be 20 taka per stick and Gold Leaf may be 16 taka.
In the letter the health minister expressed interference of finance minister for considering the proposals of imposing tax on tobacco related products for the fiscal year 2019-2020. There proposal was also made to reduce price level from four to two to make the country free of tobacco by the year 2040.
In the health minister’s proposal for imposing tax on cigarette the lower and medium level are merged into one and higher and premium level are merged into one level. At the lower level the retail price of 10 pieces cigarette packet is fixed at 50 taka and 60 percent supplementary duty is asked to impose. On the other hand at the high level per packet of 10 pieces cigarettes’ price is fixed at 105 taka and 65 per cent supplementary duty is asked to apply. Besides, in every piece of cigarette 5 per cent specific supplementary duty is asked to impose.
In the proposal price of filter less Bidi 25 pieces is fixed at 35 taka and 45 per cent supplementary duty is asked to impose. Besides, price of 20 pieces filtered Bidi is fixed at 28 taka and 45 percent supplementary duty is asked to impose. Besides, 4.80 taka specific supplementary duty is asked to impose.
In case of smokeless tobacco, after fixing the price of 10 grams zarda at 35 taka and gul at 20 taka 45 per cent supplementary duty is asked to impose. Besides, five taka specific duty on zarda and three taka on gul is proposed to charge.
In his letter to the finance minister the health minister said, the existing duty framework is very complex and it cannot play any role to discourage use of tobacco. Cigarette is cheap and available in the market as multi level duty frame work is prevailing. Consumers are choosing less priced cigarettes instead of quitting smoking.