By: Our Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: In a virtual post Mini-Budget session with journalists, civil society activists expressed their anger over the increase of taxes on daily life necessity items except for tobacco.
Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Pakistan said, the Government of Pakistan, increased taxes on milk for children in the Mini-Budget 2021-22 but no taxes were increase on cigarettes, which could have generated 10 to 20 billion.
He further added 4 out of 10 children are stunted in the country. Compared to international giants, 17% GST imposition on local milk production will worsen malnutrition rates among children. It is reiterated that same amounts be generated from tobacco industry through taxation instead of putting children at stake through cutting off their milk supplies.
Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager SPARC told, Evidence based research reveals that Tobacco is the largest silent killer in Pakistan as 438 people die every day due to tobacco use.
He further added that children of Pakistan are biggest victims because the tobacco industry targets them as “replacement smokers. Around 1200 Pakistani children between ages of 6-15 years start smoking every day.
Mr. Shariq Mahmood Khan, CEO Chromatic Trust added the cigarette taxation in Pakistan is among the weakest in South Asia, and this makes them easily affordable for Children.
He further stated that the health and economic costs of tobacco use are more than five times the tax receipts, meaning that the tax contribution of the tobacco industry is a small fraction of what tobacco consumption costs the government and society.
The session was organized by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).