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November 27, 2020

‘FBR continues to delay implementation of Health Levy Bill on invalid reasons’

Islamabad

November 27, 2020

Islamabad : The senior lawyers of Supreme Court expressed during a press briefing held by PANAH and other human right organisation, to shed light on the reasons for delay in the implementation of health levy bill that was approved by the cabinet in 2019. Supreme Court lawyer, Mohammad Akhlaq clarified that FBR is not the authority to contest the legal position of the bill when the same was vetted by the Law and Justice Department and was approved by the Cabinet. He further stressed that Federal Government can constitutionally impose levy on tobacco products.

Pakistan National Heart Association Secretary General Sanuallah Ghumman stated that health is a fundamental right of the people, the provision of which is the responsibility of the government. He further added that smoking and sugary drinks are a major cause of various diseases including heart disease. All international bodies including WHO stress the need to reduce consumption of such deadly products by increasing of taxes on them.

Malik Imran, Country Representative, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said that Federal Board of Revenue is deliberately delaying the implementation of Health levy on tobacco products which was approved by Cabinet with special directions from the Prime Minister, Imran Khan. He added that due to this delay, Pakistan has lost more than Rs50 billion and is continuously losing large revenues which could have been utilized for various schemes of public welfare by the government, including Ahsas Programme or Universal Health Insurance Card.

In 2019, Federal Cabinet in its meeting held on 28 May, 2019 approved to include in Finance bill 2019-20 regarding imposition of Health levy on cigarettes at the rate of Rs10 per pack of 20 cigarettes and Rs1 on 250 ml of carbonated drinks.