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Anti-tobacco activists demand hike in FED on cigarettes

Lahore

June 7, 2020

Islamabad : The anti-tobacco activists on Wednesday demanded at least Rs20 increase in the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes in the upcoming annual budget 2020-21 to enhance revenue collection and discourage tobacco use.

They were addressing a pre-budget press conference to demand higher taxes on cigarettes for improved health and economy.

The press conference was jointly organized by Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC), Human Development Foundation (HDF) and Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH).

Executive Director, SPARC Sajjad Ahmed Cheema said that considering the fact that increase in dollar price has had an effect on the prices of basic goods for living whereas, the prices of tobacco products are still the same which makes it accessible to minors.

He further added that civil society organizations are anxious for better future of Pakistan and are seriously concerned that why heavy taxes are not been imposed on tobacco industry in the country.

Heavy taxation on tobacco products will not only reduce the tobacco consumption and its accessibility but will also keep the minors off from tobacco.

Cheema stated this will also reduce the health bill of Government of Pakistan and will contribute to clean and healthy environment for future generations. We urge to the Government to impose higher taxes on tobacco products to save our children.

CEO, Human Development Foundation (HDF) Azhar Saleem said that the country is facing a severe shortage of funds to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19).

He further added that through changes in the taxation structure, tobacco industry has been evading taxes at the cost of the lives of people.

The government needs to keep in mind the growing inflation rate while finalizing the taxes on tobacco products for fiscal year 2020-2021. He urged the government to increase FED on tobacco products by Rs20 for each slab of tobacco tax structure.

Secretary General, Pakistan National Heart Association Sana Ullah Ghuman said the government needs to adopt a futuristic approach and channelize the additional revenues into situations where financial setbacks are faced such as the current pandemic of coronavirus.

“This additional revenue will continue in lessening the financial crunch that the country is facing,” he said.