Govt. likely to get 364 Billion in tax on cigarettes due to current tax rates
Govt. likely to get 364 Billion in tax on cigarettes due to current tax rates
Increasing Federal Excise Duty (FED) on tobacco products has helped stabilizing Pakistan’s economy. This decision may put government in bad books of tobacco manufacturers but it will produce great dividends for national economy and public health infrastructure. These views were shared by health activists in an event organized by Society for the Protection of the Rights (SPARC) and Sustainable Development Organization (SSDO). According to the activists, if government remains steadfast on his February 2023 decision of increasing FED on cigarettes, it can generate 364 billion rupees in fiscal year 20223-24.
Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager SPARC expressed his gratitude thanking Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif for increasing FED after an SRO was released on 14th February, 2023. He mentioned that it is heartening to see that our government cares about the lives of our citizens and is not afraid to take bold steps to save them from harms. Meanwhile the tobacco industry operates only to generate its own profit at the expense of public health.
Khalil added that the good work done by the government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif must not be lost. The government can stabilize economy and provide relief to citizens as long as it doesn’t pay attention to the deceptive campaign of tobacco industry.

Dr. Ziauddin Islam, Former Technical Head, Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of Health, said tobacco products are non-essential and hazardous items which cause 170,000 deaths every year in Pakistan. On an average, Pakistani smokers spend 10% of their average monthly income on cigarettes. Due to cheap and easy affordability nearly 1200 children begin smoking every day in the country. A struggling economy such as Pakistan can’t afford this much loss of precious human and finance resources. It is refreshing to see that government took the bold decision of increasing FED on tobacco products that are the major source of our health woes.

Sophia Mansoori, Communication and Program Coordinator, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), said that tobacco induced disease causes an annual economic burden of 615 billion which is 1.6% of Pakistan’s GDP. Although tobacco industry is one of the major tax payers but the revenue generated from the tobacco industry is 120 billion. Therefore the industry can’t claim that it is fulfilling the duty. An industry which is causing such severe damage to people’s health and finances, should not use victim card that it is being ‘burdened’ by taxes. Therefore, instead of listening to the misinformation spread by tobacco industry, everyone must appreciate government’s decision which is in interest of Pakistan’s health and economy.

Syed Kausar Abbas, Executive Director, SSDO, said that given the financially turbulent times, govt. couldn’t have made a better decision than doubling the FED on Cigarettes. The products of tobacco industry are deadly and the harm caused by them should be paid by tobacco industry and not by the citizens. This additional revenue should be utilized in healthcare and education schemes. This is a win-win opportunity for the government which must be capitalized.

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