'Tobacco has negative contribution in Pakistan's economy'.

ISLAMABAD -- Increased tobacco taxation is a win-win situation for the government and people of Pakistan provided that the government remains steadfast on its decision of increasing tobacco taxation. This arguments was raised during an event organized by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and elected representatives here Sunday.

The event explored the economics of tobacco, its health cost burden and tactics of tobacco industry in the presence of key journalists to gather support for FBR's track and trace system.

Malik Imran, Country Head, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) mentioned that tobacco industry caused 615 billion rupee economic burden to our country therefore it must be taxed heavily and regularly. He mentioned that due to the government's decision of increasing Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes in February 2023, an additional 11.3 billion FED revenue and 4.4 billion VAT revenue was obtained in fiscal year 2022-23. This additional revenue makes up 0.201 percent of our GDP which is a significant boost for a struggling economy like Pakistan. Imran stated, that the Illicit trade is an excuse used by the tobacco industry to avoid taxes. In reality, the tobacco industry practices under-reporting where they hide their actual production figures to avoid taxes. Cigarette manufacturers also shift the tax burden to consumers to increase their own profitability.

Rizwan Sarfraz, Additional Project Director, Track and Trace System, FBR, mentioned that the track and trace system (TTS) implemented by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in Pakistan had achieved several achievements. These include technology based monitoring...

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