Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) has called for imposing specific taxes and increasing the prices of tobacco products. Journalists of ATMA raised such demand in a virtual meeting today (24 June 2021, Thursday).
If the proposed budget for FY 2021-22 is finally passed, it would make tobacco products even more affordable and increase the use of tobacco products among the youth and the poor demographic, speakers in the meeting said. Implementation of ATMA’s budget proposals will encourage 1.1 million people to quit smoking, prevent premature deaths of 390,000 current adults and 400,000 current youth, and earn BDT 3400 crore additional revenue from cigarettes as supplementary duty, health development surcharge, and VAT.
On behalf of ATMA, the following proposals have been presented to be included in the final 2021-22 national budget:
Introduce a tiered specific excise (supplementary duty -SD) with a uniform tax burden (SD share of 65% of the final retail price) across all cigarette brands. Set the prices for 10 sticks of the low tier at BDT 50, medium-tier at BDT 70, high tier at BDT 110, and premium tier at BDT 140 and then impose a specific supplementary duty of BDT 32.50, BDT 45.50, BDT 71.50 and BDT 91 respectively. For 25 non-filtered bidi sticks, set the retail price at BDT 25, followed by a specific supplementary duty of BDT 11.25 (45%). For SLT products, the price per 10-gram jarda should be BDT 45 and impose specific supplementary duty amounting to BDT 27.00 (60%). For a 10-gram gul, set the price at BDT 25 and impose specific supplementary duty amounting to BDT 15.00 (60%).
The virtual meeting, attended by around 50 members, was hosted by Nadira Kiran, co-convener, ATMA. Mizan Chowdhury, ATMA Co-convener, presented activities of the organization to attendees. A Special Discussion was participated by Zahirul Alam, Head of News and Current Affairs, NTV, and Abu Kawser, Joint News Editor, NewsBangla24.com. Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Bangladesh and Md. Hasan Shahriar, Head of Programme, PROGGA attended the meeting as guest speakers.