The MPs, including Health Minister Zahid Maleque, proposed this demand in a webinar organized by Tamakmukto Bangladesh Mancha (Tobacco-free Bangladesh Platform)
A dozen Members of Parliament (MP) yesterday sought an additional Tk11,000 crore in taxes, value-added-tax (VAT), and surcharges, on tobacco products in the upcoming 2020-21 fiscal year.
The MPs, including Health Minister Zahid Maleque, proposed this demand in a webinar organized by Tamakmukto Bangladesh Mancha (Tobacco-free Bangladesh Platform) .
They said taxes should be increased and an additional 3% surcharge had to be imposed on tobacco products due to Covid-19 as tobacco helped spread the novel virus.
If passed, an additional Tk10,000 crore will be collected in VAT and taxes, and another Tk1,000 crore in surcharges in the next fiscal year.
Zahid Maleque said: “Thirty eight million people consume tobacco in the country. Health expenses for the treatment of tobacco-related diseases is more than the tax earnings from tobacco products. Therefore, tobacco taxes need to increase.“
The minister also proposed reducing the number of cigarette price slabs from four to two.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP and president of Tamakmukto Bangladesh Mancha, moderated the webinar.
“Together, we sent a letter to the finance minister for increasing taxes and imposing surcharges on tobacco products in the upcoming budget. Already, the Health Ministry has proposed increasing taxes in the budget," he said.
This additional money can be used to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic as tobacco increases the chances of death and spreading of the disease, he added.
A dozen MPs spoke in the webinar, including former information minister Hasanul Haq Inu.