Increase tax on tobacco, says ATMA

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The organization made the calls in its budget proposals for the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year

The Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) on Sunday urged the government to increase taxes on tobacco and use the extra revenue to be generated from the proposed higher taxes in tackling the losses caused by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The organization made the calls in its budget proposals for the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year. The proposals were submitted to the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

This year, the ATMA submitted their proposals through  e-mail. 

The organization suggested the NBR increase the existing  tax rates on cigarette, merge four-tiers to two-tier pricing formula for cigarettes and increase their prices.

Implementation of the proposals will prevent about 600,000 deaths, help around 2,000,000 people give up cigarette habit, and generate an additional Tk10,000 crore  in government tax revenue.

The anti-tobacco platform said that the government could use the enhanced tax income in compensating losses inflicted due to coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

In Bangladesh, 37.8 million adults consume tobacco and 41 million people are victims of passive smoke, the ATMA says.

Increasing tobacco prices and taxes will safeguard public health, adds the statement.