Thursday September 28, 2023

‘Tobacco use affecting economy’

By Our Correspondent
May 30, 2023

Islamabad:Increased tobacco taxation is a win-win situation for the government and people of Pakistan provided that the government remains steadfast on its decision of increasing tobacco taxation. This argument was raised during an event organised by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) with Federal Board of Revenue FBR and elected representatives. The event explored economics of tobacco, health cost burden and tactics of tobacco industry in presence of key journalists to gather support for Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) track and trace system.

Malik Imran, country head, Campaign for tobacco-free kids (CTFK), mentioned that tobacco industry cased Rs615 billion economic burden to our country therefore it must be taxed heavily and regularly. He mentioned that due to government’s decision of increasing Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes in February 2023, additional 11.3 billion FED revenue and 4.4 billion VAT revenue was obtained in fiscal year 2022-23. This additional revenue makes up 0.201% of our GDP which is a significant boost for a struggling economy like Pakistan. Imran stated that the illicit trade is an excuse used by the tobacco industry to avoid taxes.Rizwan Sarfraz, additional project director, Track and Trace System, FBR, mentioned that the track and trace system (TTS) implemented by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in Pakistan has achieved several goals.

Nisar Ahmed Cheema, Member National Assembly, said all stakeholders must work tirelessly to ensure that health of Pakistanis doesn’t suffer at any cost. Dr. Ziauddin Islam, former technical head, Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of Health and Khalil Ahmed Dogar, program manager SPARC also spoke on the ocassion.