The mini-budget (economic reforms bill) presented by the Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar in the National Assembly on Wednesday disappointed the health advocates as the government didn’t mention the “sin tax” which the federal government earlier announced to impose on cigarettes and other sugar beverages.
“Not only the federal minister for health Aamer Mehmood Kiani had announced to impose the sin tax but other PTI-led federal government dignitaries had also confirmed it. Apparently, the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf took its decision back because of the pressure of influential tobacco industry,” Khurram Hashmi, the National Coordinator for Coalition for Tobacco Control Pakistan said while talking to media.
He further said that till the night of Tuesday the media was reporting that the ‘sin tax’ would be imposed by the government during the economic reforms bill. “We were also very confident because the federal government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had announced it many times. It is very shocking thing for us as the industry of tobacco has again won and it would generate revenue at the cost of the health of the people of Pakistan. We demand that the federal government impose sin tax without any delay” he added.
An official of the Pakistan National Heart Association Malik Imran also showed his disappointment and said that we were shocked to know that the government didn’t bother to impose the sin tax. It was the only tax which would have generated revenue for the country as well as protect the health of people, he said.
“Tobacco becomes the main reason for several diseases, including cancer. Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan established a cancer hospital and he also used to talk against the consumption of tobacco, but it is unfortunate that his government didn’t bother to save the people of Pakistan from cancer,” he added.