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Pakistan government to impose 'sin tax' on tobacco

Dec 05, 2018

1ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will soon impose a 'sin tax' on cigarettes and sugary beverages and that fund would be diverted to the health budget, Minister for National Health Services Aamer Mehmood Kiani has said.

Speaking at a public health conference at the Health Services Academy, Kiani Tuesday said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was committed to increasing the health budget by five per cent of GDP, Dawn reported.

"Various routes will be used to increase the health budget," he said, adding "and one of them is imposing a sin tax on tobacco products and sugary beverages. That sum will be diverted to the health budget."

Currently, the government spends a mere 0.6 per cent of GDP on health.

It has been suggested several times in the past that sin taxes be imposed on products that cause health-related issues as a result of which the state pays heavy penalties in the shape of healthcare spendi ..

"A sin tax is an internationally recognised term and is specifically levied on certain goods deemed harmful to society, for example tobacco, candies, soft drinks, fast foods, coffee and sugarNSE -3.34 %," he said.

"The US charges about USD 1.5 (approximately Rs 200) per pack of cigarettes, while the UK charges 40 pence (around Rs 100) per litre of sugary beverages as sin tax. Thailand, as well as a number of other countries, has similar taxes that are earmarked for healthcare services," he added.

"We have not yet decided on the exact amount for a sin tax (in Pakistan)," he said, but hinted that "it will certainly be a handsome amount."

"Some 1,500 youngsters start smoking in Pakistan eve ..

Source: The Economic Times