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Attention smokers govt. to impose heavy Levy on cigarettes in next budget

Attention smokers govt. to impose heavy Levy on cigarettes in next budget!

A packet of cigarettes is going to cost more as the government will be implementing a health levy on cigarettes from the coming fiscal year.

The move comes as the government aims to discourage smoking, boost revenues and reduce the number of non-communicable diseases caused by the use of tobacco like cancer, diabetes, and stroke.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Public Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, said that his ministry was working to incorporate the health levy bill on cigarettes into the upcoming Finance Bill to implement it across the country.

Dr. Faisal Sultan revealed that the health levy on cigarettes should have been implemented from the previous fiscal year after the federal cabinet approved the health levy in June 2019, but this could not happen owing to a number of reasons and administrative shortcomings.

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However, approval from the federal cabinet is yet to be implemented.

“This delay in implementation of the health levy is causing a loss of around Rs38 billion annually to the national exchequer because of the lower tax collection.”

Dr. Sultan in a letter written to the finance ministry emphasized the need to charge Rs10 per pack of 20 cigarettes as a health tax on tobacco and one rupee per 250ml on carbonated drinks as approved by the federal cabinet decision in a meeting held on June 18, 2019.

Saman Siddiqui

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