Hiking tobacco product prices will push up revenue by Tk 10,000cr Experts tell a workshop

Published : 03 Apr 2024 09:21 PM

 Hiking prices of tobacco products through effective taxation will not only increase the government's revenue earnings but also reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and thereby, the government's healthcare cost attributable to tobacco-induced diseases. 

Therefore, in the upcoming national budget for FY 2024-25, the prices of tobacco products particularly the price and tax rate of low-tier cigarettes must be increased to push these products out of the purchasing capacity of the youth and the poor. 

Speakers said this on Wednesday during a journalists' workshop titled "Tobacco Tax and Price Measures: National Budget FY 2024-25", held at the BMA Bhaban of the capital, jointly organized by PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and ATMA (Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance).  A total of 29 journalists from print, television, and online media outlets participated in the workshop. It was informed that the prices of all types of tobacco products in Bangladesh are already considerably low. 

Compared to the prices of essential commodities, it is evident that these deadly products are getting even cheaper. 

An analysis of the average retail prices of essential commodities in 07 metropolitan cities of the country (Dhaka, Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet, Barisal, and Rangpur) between 04 July 2021 and 04 July 2023, as reported by the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM), shows that price of loose sugar has seen an 89 percent hike in this period, the hike is 87 percent for potatoes, 75 percent for loose flour, 47 percent for pangash fish, 43 percent for eggs, 34 percent for soybean oil, 30 percent for powdered milk, and 27 percent for broiler chicken. 

However, during this same timeframe, the hike in the prices of different tiers of cigarettes ranged between 6-15 percent only.

 It should be noted that the low-tier cigarettes constitute 75 percent of the total cigarette market of Bangladesh. The supplementary duty imposed on this tier is merely 58 percent. It is, therefore, quite evident that compared to other cigarette tiers, hiking prices and supplementary duty of low-tier cigarettes will encourage a much larger number of low-income tobacco users to quit.

 The tobacco prices and taxation proposals presented during the workshop are as follows:

 Md. Hasan Shahriar, Project Head, Tobacco Control, PROGGA, delivered the keynote presentation before journalists. Among the discussants were Md. Abdus Salam, Program's Manager (Bangladesh) for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Humaira Sultana, Communications Manager for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Liton Haider, Convener of ATMA, and ABM Zubair, Executive Director, PROGGA.