Islamabad:Health activists urged the government to be wary of the misleading tactics of tobacco industry which causes substantial loss to national exchequer each year. During an event organised by...
Islamabad:Health activists urged the government to be wary of the misleading tactics of tobacco industry which causes substantial loss to national exchequer each year. During an event organised by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) in collaboration with Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC), health activists showed declared statistics of cigarette produced by the tobacco industry in Pakistan to highlight that, in most of the cases, declared production in June is lower than average. The declared production declined from 4,006 million sticks in February 2023 to 2,665 million sticks in March 2023.
According to the health activists, these are industry’s tactics to influence policymakers. Because if this decline is due to higher tax rate, then why the production declined from 4,510 in June 2022 to only 1,021 in July 2022 when tax wasn’t increased.
Muhammad Sabir, principal economist of SPDC said that, with the tax rate enhancements, cigarette prices have also increased. The per pack price of the most popular economy brand increased from Rs80 to 211, while the price of a premium brand rose from Rs179 to Rs483. In percentage terms, the overall price increase was 164 per cent and 170 per cent, respectively. However, cigarette manufacturers have also kept increasing their net-of-tax prices (producers’ prices). For instance, the producers’ price of the economy brand increased by 121 per cent, much higher than the prevailing inflation rate. Altogether, the total tax on economy brands (FED and GST) rose by Rs89 per pack (from Rs45 to 133). On the contrary, the consumer price increased by Rs131.