Cabinet Sub Committee to look into cigarette tax increase | Daily News

Cabinet Sub Committee to look into cigarette tax increase


 A Cabinet Sub Committee has been appointed to look into the tax increase on cigarettes upto 90 percent. The committee is to present its report at the Cabinet meeting next week, Co-Cabinet Spokesperson and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday.

The tax increase on cigarettes was put to the Cabinet in July through a joint Cabinet Paper proposed by both the President and Health Minister but it has faced much opposition from the Ministry of Finance, according to Senaratne.

“The Finance Ministry has opposed the increase as they say that close to 300,000 tobacco farmers would lose their jobs and that it would weaken the industry. But I spoke to the President about it and he agreed that the main aim was to weaken these companies. Certain members of the Finance Ministry seem to act like representatives of the Tobacco company,” said the Health Minister.

“But, we will not stop, we will go ahead with it anyway. Once we implement this, Sri Lanka will be number one in the campaign against tobacco smoking,” added Senaratne.

The tax on cigarettes at present stands at 72 percent and the total annual health cost of tobacco and alcohol stands at Rs 222.1 billion, similar to the annual health budget of Sri Lanka.


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