On June 27, 2019, Citizen Right’s groups demanded to reform the tax structure along with increased tobacco tax to reduce harmful consumption of tobacco and to increase tax for promoting health and wellbeing for citizens. SUPRO a right based organization along with eight anti-tobacco organizations organized a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity today. The conference Chaired by the Chairperson of SUPRO Abdul Awal and attended by the former Chairman of NBR Dr. Nasir Uddin Ahmed, Renowned Journalist Dawlot Akhter Mala, Ataur Rahman Masud, Program Officer-CTFK, Monju Rani Pramanik, the Treasurer of SUPRO and others.
The speakers demanded for setting the minimum price 50 taka of a packet contain 10 cigarettes instead of Tk 37, and for imposing a fixed supplementary duty of 5 taka of a packet contain 10 cigarettes; demanded for export tax on tobacco products, increased corporate surcharges and also increased health development surcharge of minimum 2%. Speakers said that on June 13, the Honorable Finance Minister in the budget speech made the announcement of tobacco tax that disappointment to civil society, which is not compatible with the National policy of tobacco control and Future tobacco-free country. In order to ensure the safety health of the people in the budget, a press conference was organized on behalf of the civil society organizations Campaign for Good Governance (SUPRO) ,National Heart Foundation, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Progga, Association for Community Development (ACD), Young Power in Social Actions (YPSA), Tamak Birodhi Nari Jote (Tabinaj), Bangladesh Institute of Theater Arts (BITA) with the support of Campaign for tobacco free kids in order to improve tobacco-tax structure reform and tobacco tax increase.
At the press conference, Dr. Nasir Uddin Ahmed said that according to the government's proposed budget for the fiscal year 20120-20, the profits of tobacco companies will increase up to 31 percent in value level over the past years. Tobacco control is never possible by tobacco companies as a means of business expansion. To create a tobacco-free Bangladesh at the conference, the final budget is presented to include the following demands:
- Setting minimum price of 50 Tk instead of 37 Tk in packet contains10 stick cigarettes
- The existing 55 percent supplementary duty on the lower tier cigarettes increases by 5 percent to 60 % and the existing 65 % supplementary duty increase by 5 percent to 70 percent in medium, high and premium level to increase government revenue;
- Settle a specific supplementary duty of 5 taka packet contain10 stick cigarettes;
- Setting 35 taka per packet bidi contains 25 stick imposing 45% supplementary duty and 6 taka specific supplementary duty;
- Setting retail price 35 taka of 10 grams of ‘Jarda’ and a retail price of 10 grams of ‘GUL’ will be set to Tk 20
- Reinstate existing 25 percent export duty of non-processed tobacco and existing 10 percent of exported and processed tobacco products;
- Increase the health development surcharge (2%) on all types of tobacco products;
- Subsection 3 under Section 46 of the current Value Added Tax and Supplementary Charge Act, 2012 to cancel the opportunity to take advantage of the tax levy of the tobacco companies in public interest;
- The withdrawal of government shares from the British American company and the withdrawal of their representation in the board.