ISLAMABAD: Health experts have appreciated the World Bank’s suggestion that the government impose tax on cigarettes up to 0.4pc of the gross domestic product (GDP) and urged decision makers to implement it in the best interest of the people and economy.
In a press release shared by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc), health advocates have emphasised that implementation of the recommendation would ensure a healthier and more prosperous future for Pakistan’s youth.
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Country Director Malik Imran Ahmed said in its latest report titled ‘Pakistan Development Update,’ the World Bank highlighted that a significant revenue gain of 0.4pc of the GDP could be achieved by applying the current rate on premium cigarettes (Rs16.50 per cigarette) to standard cigarettes as well.
“The report underscores the potential for economic and health benefits through this measure,” he added.
Sparc Programme Manager Khalil Ahmed Dogar said the government should fully endorse the World Bank’s call for increased federal excise duty on cigarettes.
“This measure can substantially enhance both fiscal resources and public health outcomes, contributing to a safer and more prosperous future for the children of Pakistan,” he added.
Mr Dogar said cigarettes in Pakistan were currently taxed through a dual rate system.
“Sparc supports the World Bank’s findings that applying the current rate on premium cigarettes to standard cigarettes could lead to a significant revenue gain, further reinforcing the need for swift action in this regard,” he added.
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2023