Government’s revenue collection body – National Board of Revenue (NBR) has held a secret meeting with the Cigarette Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh (CMAB) at its mini-conference room (to discuss issues related to the tax structure in the upcoming National Budget) which is the clear violation of the international treaty – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), reads a report on the Daily Dhaka Tribune one May 10, 2015.
Following the report, yesterday on 9 May around 12.20 pm, a five-member representatives of different local and international tobacco companies entered at the NBR chairman’s mini-conference room (used for highly private meetings by the NBR Chairman) and passed around 45 minutes together while the journalists present there were not allowed to enter into that mini-conference room.
But usually the NBR holds meeting at its conference room in presence of journalists to cover the event. After the private meeting with the NBR Chairman, they held another casual pre-budget discussion at the conference room in front of the journalists but without presence of NBR Chairman, and then they again meet with the Chairman covertly for another half an hour, reads the report.
In the meeting, the tobacco manufacturers force the tax authority to keep the tax on cigarette low, cut the existing 10% export duty on tobacco, and consider the issue of smuggling while rate of tax will be determined.
Quoting WHO, the report said, tobacco products price in Bangladesh are considered lowest in the world, so it is necessary to impose higher tax on it to protect public health, and also need to synchronize tax rates with neighboring countries to reduce inward smuggling in our country.
The full report is available on the following link: