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Coronavirus
LOW Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
28,777
1024hr
Pakistan Cases
1,287,161
33624hr
0.78% positivity
Sindh
476,830
Punjab
443,519
Balochistan
33,507
Islamabad
107,930
KPK
180,383

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has scored 0.88 points out of 5 on “cigarette tax scorecard” of 170 countries, lowest in the region, showing that the government needs to effectively tax cigarettes for increasing revenue collection and discouraging its consumption.

The Tobacconomics, a collaboration of leading researchers who have been studying the economics of tobacco control policy for nearly 30 years, Thursday released the scorecard through a detailed report on tax on cigarettes in various countries.

The scorecard issued on Thursday has used the data from the Word Health Organization Global Tobacco Control Reports to score countries on a five-point scale, thus providing policy makers with an actionable assessment.

There are four scoring components used: The absolute price of cigarettes, changes in affordability, the tax share of the price, and the tax structure used. Among the list, Pakistan stands at the bottom of the scorecard with bare 0.88 points out of 5 for its low tax rate on the cigarettes. The report suggests the government to impose a uniform specific tax on cigarettes that comprises at least 70 percent of the retail price, and is automatically updated to stay ahead of inflation and income growth.

The top-performing countries in this assessment are Australia and New Zealand, scoring the highest at 4.63, which according to the report reflects their high, uniform specific cigarette excise taxes with regular increases that have significantly reduced the affordability of cigarettes.

Malik Imran Ahmed, country head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, urged the government to reform cigarette tax policies to boost the revenue, reduce burden on health infrastructure, and its affordability to the youth.

He said the multinational tobacco companies were filling their coffers at the expense of lives of more than 170,000 people who die every year due to diseases caused and aggravated by the consumption of tobacco products. The World Bank suggests the governments to increase at least 30 percent tax on tobacco products annually to boost the revenue and cut smokers’ number.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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