Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Anti-tobacco group ATMA presents proposals to NBR in pre-budget meeting

  • News Desk, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-04-08 04:28:21 BdST


Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance or ATMA has submitted a set of proposals on effective taxation to the National Board of Revenue in a pre-budget meeting. 

If adopted, the proposals will encourage nearly 3.2 million adults to quit smoking, according to a media release from the organisation.

It will also reduce premature deaths by 1 million among current smokers in the long term and generate between Tk 66.80 billion and Tk 119.80 billion, or 0.4 percent of GDP, in additional tax revenue, ATMA says.

The NBR is uncompromising about tobacco because the prime minister has committed to make Bangladesh tobacco-free by 2040, NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said in the meeting on Sunday.

The proposals are:

>> Bringing the number of price slabs down to two by merging the low and medium tier (Tk 35 and Tk 48 tiers) under a single tier (low) and high and premium tiers (Tk 75 and Tk 105 tiers) under another single tier (high).

>> Setting the retail price for the low tier at no less than Tk 50 per 10 sticks and raise the supplementary duty to 60 percent.

>> Setting the retail price for the high tier at minimum Tk 105 per 10 sticks and impose 65 percent supplementary duty.

>> Elimination of price distinction between filter and non-filter bidis, setting the retail price at Tk 35 taka per pack of 25 sticks of non-filter bidis and imposing 45 percent supplementary duty.

>> Changing tax base for smokeless tobacco (zarda and gul) and setting the minimum retail price at Tk 35 per 10 grams for zarda and Tk 20 per 10 grams for gul.

>> Slapping another 15 pecent VAT on retail price of all tobacco products.

Besides Mosharraf, other NBR officials discussed the tobacco taxation issue with the ATMA representatives.

The anti-tobacco campaigners included Mortuza Haider Liton, ATMA convenor and chief crimes correspondent of bdnews24.com; Nadira Kiron, co-convenor of ATMA and news editor of ATN Bangla; Mizan Chowdhury, ATMA co-convenor and senior reporter of Daily Jugantor; Monir Hossain Liton, joint chief news editor, Ekattor Television; Kawsar Rahman, city editor, Daily Janakantha; Mir Masrur Zaman Rony, senior news editor, Channel I; and Doulot Akter Mala, special correspondent, The Financial Express.