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ISLAMABAD: The Centre for Research and Dialogue (CRD) has asked the Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb for taking action against cigarette manufacturing companies allegedly involved in violation of laws.

The CRD has written a letter to the Finance Minister on violations of applicable laws by the cigarette manufactures on Friday.

The development comes at a time when the Ministry of Finance is struggling to broaden the tax net and plug the loopholes in the tax machinery.

The letter urged prompt action against the violations of the Federal Excise Act 2005 after the multinational cigarette companies introduced new variants of the same brand family at significantly lower prices.

According to the rules, no manufacturer or importer of cigarettes can introduce or sell a new variant of a cigarette brand at a price lower than the lowest actual price within the same brand family.

Despite this regulation, a multinational company has launched a new brand priced at Rs164, substantially lower than its existing family brand, which is priced at Rs212.

Amjad Qamar, Director of CRD, highlighted the implications of this violation, emphasizing that it not only breaches tax regulations but also contributes to making cigarettes more affordable, which is detrimental to public health and reportedly 337500 people lost their lives due to tobacco related diseases annually in Pakistan. In his letter to the Finance Minister, Qamar has urged swift and decisive action to address this issue and uphold the integrity of tax laws aimed at safeguarding public health and ensuring fair market practices.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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