IMF paints smoking burden on economy

01:56 AM | 28 May, 2023
IMF paints smoking burden on economy

LAHORE - The prevalence of tobacco use in Pakistan has reached alarming levels, with approximately 31 million adults, or about 19.7% of the adult population, currently consuming tobacco products.

The consequences of this habit have severe implications for both public health and the economy, as tobacco use remains the leading cause of death due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular ailments.

In a recent study funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) titled "Raising Tobacco Tax Rates to Promote Public Health and Increase Revenue: Policy Options for Budget 2022-23," it was revealed that tobacco use resulted in an estimated 337,500 deaths in 2022 alone.

The burden falls disproportionately on poorer households, as they spend a larger proportion of their budget on tobacco, thereby leaving less room for essential needs.

One concerning trend identified in the study is the affordability of cigarettes, which has increased due to low tobacco taxes and the absence of tax hikes since July 2019 till February 2023. The average excise tax rate in Pakistan stands at around 45% of the retail price, falling short of the widely accepted benchmark of 70%. The researchers found that raising excise taxes on cigarettes by 30% would lead to a reduction of 200,000 smokers and increase excise tax revenue by at least 25%.

The IMF projections reveal that Pakistan's nominal per capita income witnessed a 12.7% increase in 2020-21 and is expected to grow by over 11% in the following two years. Simultaneously, inflation is expected to surpass the 9.2% target for the current fiscal year.

However, the retail prices of cigarettes have remained constant since July 2019, which means that cigarettes will become even more affordable in the upcoming years if excise tax rates remain unchanged.

Based on estimates from the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC) using IMF projections, approximately 4% of per capita income was required to purchase 2000 cigarettes in 2020-21. This figure is anticipated to decrease to 3.6% in 2021-22 and further decline to 3.2% in 2022-23 if cigarette prices remain stagnant.

Raising taxes on tobacco products through excise tax increases has been proven as the most effective method to reduce tobacco use. Higher prices act as a deterrent for youth initiation and encourage current smokers to quit. The study recommends raising tobacco excise to Rs 154 for low-price cigarettes and Rs 385 for high-price cigarettes.

This policy change would result in 200,000 fewer smokers, a 1.2% reduction in smoking prevalence among adults, a 1.23% reduction in smoking intensity among adults, the saving of 200,000 lives, and an additional total FED revenue of Rs27.4 billion—an increase of at least 25.1%.

Addressing the issue of tobacco use in Pakistan requires urgent action from the government to prioritize public health and generate additional revenue. By implementing these recommended policy changes, the country can make significant progress in curbing the detrimental effects of tobacco consumption, saving lives, and securing a healthier future for its citizens.

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Today's currency exchange rates in Pakistan - Dollar, Euro, Pound, Riyal rates on Sept 29, 2023

KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on September 29, 2023 (Friday).

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 286.05 289.15
Euro EUR 307 310
UK Pound Sterling GBP 353.3 357
U.A.E Dirham AED 80 80.8
Saudi Riyal SAR 76 76.75
Australian Dollar AUD 189 191
Bahrain Dinar BHD 778.84 786.84
Canadian Dollar CAD 220 222.2
China Yuan CNY 40.24 40.64
Danish Krone DKK 41.83 42.23
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 37.93 38.28
Indian Rupee INR 3.57 3.68
Japanese Yen JPY 1.63 1.71
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 945.27 954.27
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 62.62 63.22
New Zealand Dollar NZD 174.58 176.58
Norwegians Krone NOK 27.87 28.17
Omani Riyal OMR 762.31 770.31
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 80.69 81.39
Singapore Dollar SGD 208 210
Swedish Korona SEK 26.62 26.92
Swiss Franc CHF 323.01 325.51
Thai Bhat THB 8.12 8.27

Gold Rate in Pakistan Today – September 30, 2023

Today Gold Rate in Pakistan

KARACHI - The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs 205,600 on Saturday.

The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs 176,270. Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs168,730 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs196,807.

Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.

Today Gold Price in Pakistan - 30 September 2023

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Karachi PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Islamabad PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Peshawar PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Quetta PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Sialkot PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Attock PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Gujranwala PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Jehlum PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Multan PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Bahawalpur PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Gujrat PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Nawabshah PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Chakwal PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Hyderabad PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Nowshehra PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Sargodha PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Faisalabad PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450
Mirpur PKR 205,600 PKR 2,450


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