Tuesday November 30, 2021

Pakistan at bottom on cigarette tax scorecard

December 19, 2020

Islamabad : Pakistan has scored 0.88 points out of 5 on cigarette tax scorecard of 170 countries, lowest in the region and showing that the government has failed to effectively tax cigarettes to increase the revenue and discourage its consumption.

The Tobacconomics, a collaboration of leading researchers who have been studying the economics of tobacco control policy for nearly 30 years, has released the scorecard through a detailed report on tax on cigarettes in different countries.

The scorecard has used the data from the Word Health Organisation Global Tobacco Control Reports to score countries on a five-point scale, thus providing policy makers with an actionable assessment. There are four scoring components used: the absolute price of cigarettes, changes in affordability, the tax share of the price, and the tax structure used.

Among the list, Pakistan stands at the bottom of the scorecard with bare 0.88 points out of 5 for its low tax rate on the cigarettes. The report suggests the government to impose a uniform specific tax on cigarettes that comprises at least 70 per cent of the retail price and is automatically updated to stay ahead of inflation and income growth.

Malik Imran Ahmed, country head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, urged the government to reform cigarette tax policies to boost the revenue, reduce burden on health infrastructure and its affordability to the youth.