Progga and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) on Thursday insisted on collecting Tk 11,000 crore additional revenue from tobacco sector as it could prevent 600,000 premature deaths in the long run.
The anti-tobacco groups came up with the proposal responding to the national budget, which they say would eventually reduce the real price of cigarettes and encourage its use.
World Health Organization (WHO) has discouraged the use of tobacco during COVID-19 pandemic that increases the risk of infection and other serious illness including lung disease, they said in a press release.
Unfortunately, the proposed budget not only ignored the WHO warnings but also showed indifference to all the opportunities of generating additional revenues and saving lives, the groups stated.
The proposed budget for FY 2020-21 has kept the price of cigarettes in medium-tier and supplementary duty unchanged which will provide tobacco companies more opportunity to multiply their profits, said the anti-tobacco groups.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has revealed how important it is to take measures to protect public health while the proposed budget has failed to come up with any effective tax and price measures to discourage the use of tobacco products, they alleged.