ISLAMABAD: The tobacco industry has caused billions of rupees worth of loss to the government exchequer by claiming that 40 per cent of the sale of cigarettes were of spurious cigarettes, according to a report by a private media outlet.
Conducted by the Pakistan National Hearts Association (PNHA) in collaboration with the Human Development Foundation (HDF), a research titled ‘Study to Assess the Volume of Illicit Cigarette Brands’ shows that the claims by which the tobacco industry avoided an increase in tax during the current fiscal year are not true.
Before the current fiscal year’s budget was announced, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) suggested increasing the tax on cigarettes and recommended that minimum tax should be Rs44 for a pack of 20 cigarettes.
However, in the 2017-18 budget, a third tier for the tax was introduced due to which the tax was reduced to Rs16 per pack of 20 cigarettes.
The tax was reduced in order to stop the illicit trade in Pakistan as the tobacco industry had claimed that the due to the high taxes, illicit cigarettes had taken over 40pc of the total market.
Pakistan has one of the largest tobacco consuming populations in the world with some 20.1 million users. Tobacco contributes to 11 per cent of all the deaths in the country. Cigarettes are the most used form of tobacco with 85 per cent of users smoking it. There is a 10.7 per cent rate of tobacco use among the youth.