Anti-tobacco organisations have proposed specific taxation on tobacco products to protect the public health and cope up with the financial losses caused by the Covid-19, according to a press release on Sunday.
The demand came through a webinar – Necessity of Imposing Specific Tax On Tobacco Products - organised by the Bureau of Economic Research of Dhaka University on Saturday.
Bangladesh Tamak Birodhi Jote, Bangladesh Network for Tobacco Tax Policy, Tobacco Control and Research Cell and Dhaka International University jointly organised the webinar, reads the press release.
Policymakers, parliament members, tobacco control specialists and development activists participated at the webinar.
The speakers said that if specific tax is imposed on tobacco products, around 20 lakh smokers will quit the habit, according to the release.
They said that, from the VAT and specific tax on tobacco, the government can earn 14 percent more revenue from this sector in the current fiscal year.
They also said that Bangladesh is one of the leading tobacco business-friendly country. And if the situation prevails, it is not possible to make the country tobacco-free by 2040, which was announced by the prime minister.
So, they urged for implementing specific taxation on tobacco products in the upcoming budget.
They also pointed out the tax evasion issues of smoke-less tobacco products.
The National Board of Revenue has no list of companies producing smoke-less tobacco products like zarda, sada pata and gul (powdered tobacco).
Shameem Haider Patwary, parliament member of Gaibandha-1 constituency, presided over the webinar participated by Rana Mohammad Sohel, the lawmaker from Nilphamari-3, among others.
Dr Rumana Haque, professor of Economics at Dhaka University, presented the keynote while the programme was anchored by Syed Mahbubul Alam.