Sunday May 28, 2023

Hike in tobacco products prices lauded

By Our Correspondent
February 20, 2023

Islamabad: The stakeholders working to control the menace of tobacco have welcomed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for increasing the excise duty on tobacco products through a statutory regulatory ordinance (SRO).

We appreciate that the government took seriously the recommendations adopted at a - seminar held earlier by Sustainable Development Policy Institute and participated by the health policy experts. They had expressed their concerns the civil society organisations had regarding the spread of tobacco products.

The policy experts also proposed imposing high taxes on Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) and electronic smoking products that started flooding our markets. SDPI in a statement was hopeful of such taxation in near future also. Now that the target for tobacco collection for the Fiscal 2022-23 has been met, we are hopeful that while increasing the taxes for FY-2023-4 in the next budget, the government will keep this in mind that increase in taxes always ends up in reduced consumption, it said.

In the current move, FBR excise duty was increased from Rs 41 per pack to Rs101 per pack and on premium cigarettes, the excise duty was also increased from Rs 130 per pack to Rs 330 per pack. The economy and premium packs will see an increase of 146.3 % and 153.8%, respectively. Since June 2022, the Federal Excise Duty on economy and premium packs was increased by 206.1% and 217% respectively.

Reiterating the need for such healthy measures, SDPI emphasised the need for a consistent and long-term tobacco taxation policy. It demanded the government to take such measures in a systematic way. Evidence from around the globe implied that increasing the taxes always resulted in reduction of tobacco consumption. Experts at SDPI believe that HTPs, which Pakistan started regulating recently, should also be brought under heavy taxation.