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View exchange meeting held on “Raising Tax on Tobacco Products and Necessary Steps”
A view exchange meeting held on “Raising Tax on Tobacco Products and Necessary Steps” on 1 April 2019 at Dhaka University jointly organized by Bureau of Economic Research (BER), University of Dhaka and Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust in collaboration with The Union.
Additional Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Md. Habibur Rahman Khan presided over the meeting and key note presentation given by Dr. Rumana Huq, Focal Person of Bureau of Economic Research (BER). Also present Dr. Syed Mahfuzul Huq, National Professional Officer of WHO; Professor Dr. Golam Mohiuddin Faruque, Project Director of Bangladesh Cancer Society; Syed Mahbubul Alam, Technical Advisor of The Union; Gaous Pearee, Director of WBB Trust and discussed.

Speakers opined that, raising tobacco tax is an effective tool for tobacco control. Tobacco price need to make unaffordable for the people through raising base price and imposing specific tax. Tobacco tax system in Bangladesh is very weak and tobacco business friendly. So multinational tobacco companies has started to invest in our country. To prevent this, initiative need to take for simple tax structure and raising tobacco tax. Our goal is to increase prices on all tobacco products by increasing specific tax on tobacco products. Tobacco companies are creating barriers to increase tobacco taxes through various ways. Every year before the budget, companies showed fear that smuggling will increase if the prices of tobacco increases. This lame allegation is actually tobacco company made plot to create hindrance in raising tobacco tax. Instead of being distracted by the company's activities, steps should be taken for tax hike on all tobacco products.

In the meeting, representative from Health Economics Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture Extension, Ministry of Commerce, Finance, Civil Surgeon’s office, Zilla Parishad-Manikgong, IEDCR, NIPSOM, National Heart Foundation, JICA Study team, BER, Bangladesh Cancer Society, AID Foundation, TABINAJ, TCRC, Supro etc. were present.