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No sympathy for smokers; cigarettes to be pricier

Finance Minister AMA Muhith in his budget for the next fiscal on Thursday sought to increase the price of low segment cigarettes along with Supplementary Duty.

“I’m proposing to fix the price of the low segment for every 10 sticks of local brand cigarette at Tk 27 from the existing Tk 23 and increase the Supplementary Duty rate to 52 percent from existing 50 percent,” he said.

At the same time, he proposed to introduce and fix the price of the low segment for every 10 sticks of international brand cigarette at Tk 35 and the Supplementary Duty rate at 55 percent.

However, the minister did not propose to increase any price or Supplementary Duty for the medium and high segment cigarette brands which are currently being sold at Tk 45 and above. “We’re also leaving the price fixation decision on the manufacturers,” he said.

Regarding bidi, he said, bidi is another tobacco product that is more harmful than cigarette.
bidi is not bidi anymore. It is gradually becoming cheap cigarette.

“At some point of time, bidi was the only means of entertainment for the poor people. But this situation has changed dramatically over the last few years due to notable economic progress. Now, people at the remotest corner of the country have access to many entertainment options.”

Besides, he mentioned that the size of the bidi industry workers has also shrunk by 90 percent. “Considering the health risk of the people and the amount of treatment cost involved in it, I find no logical ground for this industry to survive.”

He proposed to abolish the existing tariff value of bidi. At the same time, the existing Supplementary Duty rate for non-filter bidi and filter bidi will remain unchanged at 30 percent and 35 percent respectively.

“However, I’m proposing to fix the tax inclusive price of 25 sticks of non-filter bidi at Tk 15 and 20 sticks of filter bidi at Tk 15. These rates will be effective from June 1, 2017.

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