PESHAWAR: The Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) has urged the government to increase taxes on tobacco and sugary drinks in the upcoming budget for 2022-23, as the move would serve to lessen the disease burden in the country. According to the association, in addition to having a positive effect on the health of the people the move would provide additional revenue of Rs 105 billion per annum to the national exchequer.

In a press release issued on Sunday, PANAH’s General Secretary and Operations Director Sanaullah Ghumman said this year’s budget would be a difficult one for the government. “We urge the government, as a public representative, to seriously consider raising taxes on tobacco and sugary drinks, the two non-essential factors contributing to the rise in disease,” said the press release.

“An increase in taxes on them would not only generate annual revenue of Rs 105 billion for the national exchequer, but would also significantly reduce ... the incidence of diseases. This revenue would help in the completion of development projects.”

PANAH said that due to consumption of tobacco and sugary drinks, people were becoming sick, especially the youths. The habits are fuelling many dangerous ailments, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. It pointed out that many researchers had advocated an increase in taxes on tobacco and sugary drinks as an effective way of lessening the disease burden. Mr Ghumman said it is the duty of the government to safeguard the health of the people.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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