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PM Shehbaz 's directives on illegal tobacco trade hailed                                                                                   

01:27 AM | 7 Jun, 2023
PM Shehbaz 's directives on illegal tobacco trade hailed                                                                                   

                                                                                                               

ISLAMABAD - It is encouraging that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has issued directives to curb the illegal trade of tobacco products in Pakistan, states Capital Calling, a network of academic researchers and professionals. 

Civil society organizations and groups have lauded the directive of the prime minister. 
The network states that some parliamentarians have reportedly raised their voices against smoking and the ills it has been inflicting on Pakistani society, which is encouraging. 
It presses other parliamentarians and cabinet members to raise their voices on this account also. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has put in place a Track and Trace system to stop the illicit trade of cigarettes. 

After the track and trace system, illicit trade has been cut down to a great extent in the market. 

There, however, are reports that some manufacturers have been trying to flout this system, which is deplorable.  

It says fudging of figures should be detected and discouraged at all levels. 

Separately, some health activists also mentioned that during pre-budget seasons, the tobacco industry uses blown up percentage of illicit trade to influence the policymakers from raising taxation according to the rate of inflation.

The network cites a report mentioning that “tobacco induced disease causes an annual economic burden of 615 billion which is 1.6% of Pakistan’s GDP. It adds that cigarettes are unessential items, and it has to be taxed in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). 

It states that cigarette industry uses different tactics to divert people from underreporting. “These companies under-report their production and then sell their non-reported products in the illicit market, causing billions of loss to the national exchequer,” it says, quoting a recent report. 

It is estimated that 15 percent of the cigarettes in Pakistan are illicit, which is deplorable. The increase in taxes on cigarettes is borne by smokers if it is passed on to the price. The network reports that this way, people are discouraged from smoking as they cannot afford high prices. In addition, it brings down the budget that is spent on treating tobacco-related diseases. 

“Tobacco companies have increased their net-of-tax prices. Due to over-shifting, the excise tax share in retail price remains at 51.6%, lower than the widely-accepted benchmark of 70%,” it says, citing a recent report. 

Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager (SPARC) said that the tobacco industry claims that it does state-of-the-art research to present solutions to Pakistan’s economic woes. In reality, the only state-of-the-art thing the tobacco industry produces is the killer products that are jeopardizing Pakistan’s health and economy. It is a fallacy to think that Pakistan can prosper while tobacco products are at large. 

Khalil mentioned that the Track & Trace System of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) provides an excellent opportunity for the government to tackle the issue of whatsoever ever of taxes and illicit trade, which needs to be extended to all other cigarette manufacturing companies currently not integrated

Once this step is achieved, yet another excuse for the tobacco industry will be put to rest. He further stresses the need for active tax administration by authorities to curb the existing burden of illegal production and sale of cigarettes.

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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PKR exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 22 April 2024

Pakistani currency remains largely same against US Dollar and other currencies on April 22, 2024 Monday.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.5 for buying and 280.5 for selling.

Euro stands at 293 for buying and 296 for selling while British Pound hovers at 342.25 for buying, and 345.65 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.20 and Saudi Riyal's new rate was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 22 April 2024

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.5 280.5
Euro EUR 293 296
UK Pound Sterling GBP 342.5 346
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.2 75.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.3 74.05
Australian Dollar AUD 181 182.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.55 748.55
Canadian Dollar CAD 201 203
China Yuan CNY 38.47 38.87
Danish Krone DKK 39.78 40.18
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.53 35.88
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.86 1.94
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.11 912.11
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.08 58.68
New Zealand Dollar NZD 164.22 166.22
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.61 25.91
Omani Riyal OMR 723.2 731.2
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.45 77.15
Singapore Dollar SGD 204.5 206.5
Swedish Korona SEK 25.31 25.61
Swiss Franc CHF 305.47 307.97
Thai Bhat THB 7.56 7.71

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