ISLAMABAD: Federal government has plans to raise the price of cigarettes in upcoming budget and FBR and other department s have sent proposals to the ministry of finance in this regard.
The reliable sources said that that either the government or FBR would not decrease the price of cigarettes by coming under pressure due to lobbying and propaganda of some multinational tobacco companies, because the lethal diseases like cancer and other syndrome are spreading rapidly in the country due to excess of smoking.
The federal government also intends to launch an anti smoking drive throughout Pakistan with the consultation of all four provinces to diminish the trend of smoking in the youths of the country .
It is pertinent to mention here that some multinational tobacco companies have given the suggestions to FBR that the cigarettes price may be reduced to curtail the use of smuggled cigarettes .
In this connection , the FBR stated that to curb the cigarettes smuggling , Customs Intelligence is taking action with full force .
The sources said that the multinational tobacco companies wants to add a new tax tariff in the taxation system for them so that they could get some relief in the taxes and burden might be shifted to the common man.
Sources in FBR have confided that the Multinational Tobacco Companies are constantly pressurizing senior officials in FBR to reduce the prices of cigarettes in Pakistan. Talks have been held ostensibly to reduce cigarette prices to curb smuggling of cigarettes in Pakistan.
It has been reported that Multinationals have proposed to introduce third tier in cigarette duties. If introduced, this third taxation bracket will allow them to sell their products at a lower price.
This is by far not an effective mean of restricting cigarette smuggling in Pakistan as its repercussion will be extremely harmful for the Pakistani youth. As per International Business Times, 7th Feb 2014 Report,Pakistani cigarettes already are in one of the world cheapest price bracket and because of that thousands Pakistani youth are starting cigarette smoking daily.
It may be significant to point out that already World Health Organization (WHO) has advised Pakistan to increase cigarette prices, as Pakistan’s youth cigarette consumption is one of the highest in the region. The pressure of the Big Tobacco to reduce the cigarette prices in Pakistan is only likely to benefit them in their sales. It is also expected that there would be a big backlash from antismoking lobbies and patriotic media circles, apart from reaction from WHO.