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Proposal for tobacco tax reforms hailed

March 28, 2024
This representational image shows a man smoking outside a tobacco shop. —  AFP/File
This representational image shows a man smoking outside a tobacco shop. —  AFP/File

Islamabad: Founding chairman of the School of Sociology at Quaid-i-Azam University and the head of Zaman Research Centre, Prof Muhammad Zaman has stressed the need to pay heed on recommendations of International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding tobacco tax reforms.

It should be mentioned that the IMF has proposed implementing a uniform tax structure on the tobacco industry to increase revenue. The report titled ‘Pakistan - Tax Policy Diagnostic and Reform Option’ emphasises the need for single tier taxation on both foreign and domestic cigarette manufacturers in Pakistan. It further suggested that recent tax increases on cigarettes have resulted in a decrease in smoking rate by 20 to 25%.

He expressing his support towards the IMF’s recommendations highlighted the importance of aligning cigarette taxes with guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO). It was estimated that approximately 8% of Pakistan’s population were smokers, making Pakistan one of the country’s most susceptible to the negative effects of cigarette consumption.

He emphasised that protecting public health should be a priority for policymakers and implementing the IMF’s proposed tax measures on tobacco products can help reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with smoking. Prof Zaman also called for increased research and advocacy efforts to address the social implications of smoking. He appreciated Capital Calling, an Islamabad based think tank, whose report IMF has referred to laying down its recommendations for tax reforms.