'Tobacco tax reforms could generate more than Rs200bn in three years'.

ISLAMABAD -- Taxing tobacco products would generate more than Rs200 billion in the next three years, which the government could use to reduce the budget deficit, and protect young people from a number of diseases, participants of a pre-budget session on tobacco taxation suggested on Saturday.

The session was organised by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc).

Malik Imran, a representative of the NGO Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, shared a proposal on tobacco tax reforms and recommended solutions for the federal government in a short term (fiscal year 2019-20), medium term (fiscal year 2020-21) and long term (fiscal year 2021-22) basis.

According to his calculations, tax reforms would generate around Rs205.9bn over three years, equivalent to an average annual increase in total tax revenue of about 52pc (around Rs32.3bn per year).

Mr Imran also anticipated an increase in in the excise tax share in the price from about 45.9pc currently to 57.6pc, somewhat closer to the 70pc level recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Sharing the proposed model, he said that the tax reform model would contribute to an almost 42pc reduction in adult cigarette consumption.

He added that the volume of illicit trade is very low, despite claims by the tobacco industry, and the data presented by the industry to the government can also be challenged.

He added that in Pakistan, the tobacco industry claims that Pakistan has the highest level of illicit trade, but in Malaysia the tobacco industry has said that Malaysia has the highest level of illicit trade.

Sparc Executive Director Sajjad Ahmad Cheema said the tobacco industry caused the national exchequer Rs153bn in losses between 2016 and 2019 by being awarded a low tax rate and adjusting...

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