ISLAMABAD: The multinational tobacco companies have allegedly violated the Federal Excise Act and introduced a low-priced cigarette product with an aim to boost its sales at the cost of health hazards, according to Capital Calling, a think tank.

Malik Imran, representative of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids stated that the Federal Excise Act, 2005 said that, "no manufacturer or importer of cigarette can introduce or sell a new cigarette brand variant at the same existing brand family at a price lower than the lowest actual price of the existing variant of the same brand family. For the purposes of this restriction, the current minimum price variant of the existing brand means the lowest price of a brand variation on the day of the announcement of Budget.

He said it has been observed that one multinational company has introduced a new product at the price of Rs164. "This, prima facie, is a clear violation of the law. The existing brand is sold at Rs. 212," he said.

He said no company is allowed to sell any product below the price set by the government in the Federal Excise Act 2005.

Similarly, said Malik, another company is violating not only the above restriction imposed under the law, but also another restriction which states: For the purpose of levy, collection and payment of duty at the rates specified in column 4, against serial number 9 and 10, no cigarette manufacturer shall reduce retail price from the level adopted on the day of the announcement of the latest budget.

This is specifically prohibited under the law and any attempt to use fanciful labels to bypass the law is a direct violation of the laws of Pakistan, aimed at increasing smoker numbers.

The principle behind increasing taxation is to make cigarettes more expensive.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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