The government could have earned 11 thousand crore takas if they have accepted the budget prepared by the Health Ministry which focused mainly on tobacco price increase and tobacco tax increase.
There is no positive indication of tobacco taxation in the National Budget 2020-2021 even after the specialists of the World Health Organization have warned saying that the tobacco users have higher chances of getting infected by a coronavirus.
Dhaka Ahsania Mission Health Sector arranged an online live discussion program “Tobacco Taxation: National Budget 2020-2021?” on 14 June 2020.
Professor Naziruddin Ahmed of BRAC Institute of Governance and Development and Former Chairman of National Board of Revenue, Professor Sohel Reja Chowdhury, Department of Epidemiology and Research at National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, Professor Rubana Huque of Economics Department at the University of Dhaka, Ataur Rahman Masud, Program Officer, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Bangladesh and Iqbal Masud, Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission Health Sector attended the live discussion as speakers.
All of the speakers expressed dissatisfaction with different aspects of tobacco taxation in the National budget 2020-2021 as they found the ample tax gain issue from the tobacco sector had remained completely unnoticed by the government.
Professor Naziruddin Ahmed of BRAC Institute of Governance and Development and Former Chairman of National Board of Revenue said, “It would have been good if the higher price tier and medium price tier of tobacco taxation can be merged together in the National Budget.”
Professor Sohel Reja Chowdhury, Department of Epidemiology and Research, National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute said, “There is no specific guideline about the promotional activity of the e-cigarette for the youth in the National Budget.”
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Professor Rubana Huque of Economics Department, University of Dhaka agreed with Professor Naziruddin Ahmed on the fact that “Higher price tier and medium price tier of tobacco taxation could have been merged together in the National Budget.
She added that specific tax could have been there in the budget as it would have decreased the income of the tobacco-producing companies but would increase the revenue from the tax for the government.”
Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission Health Sector Iqbal Masud said “The budget allocation for the health sector in the national budget is not sufficient. He added that tobacco taxation in the budget was not feasible and the influence of the tobacco companies has resulted in such kind of weak decision-making for the bureaucrats.”