Saturday, November 25, 2017

Muhith plans tobacco tax hike for next fiscal year 

  • News Desk,
    Published: 2017-04-11 23:54:32 BdST


The government plans to hike taxes on tobacco again next fiscal year to discourage its consumption.

Tobacco is less taxed in Bangladesh than in other countries, according to Finance Minister AMA Muhith.

“We are aiming to remove bidi from Bangladesh in two years,” Muhith said on Monday, after a meeting with the chiefs of parliamentary standing committees in Dhaka. 

Muhith made the same pledge on Mar 30 arguing that bidi, a type of cheap cigarette, was “very dangerous to public health”.

The minister is in favour of a complete ban on bidi, but that seems far from possible at least for now, because of strong lobbyists behind the industry. 

“More than half the MPs support it. They write letters to me. I don't know why they do this,” he said on Mar 30.

Muhith said he would not accept the common argument that many workers are employed in the bidi factories.

In the fiscal 2016-17 budget, Muhith increased prices of lowest slab of cigarette by 28 percent to Tk 23 from the previous year.

Taxes on medium- and high-segment cigarettes remained unchanged, but supplementary duty was hiked to 62 percent and 64 percent from 61 percent and 63 percent.

In the current fiscal year, Bangladesh increased supplementary duty on two kinds of bidi to 30 percent and 35 percent from 25 percent and 30 percent in a measure that boosted the prices of products.