Bangladesh Bidi Taxation with the COVID-19 Situation


For four years there has been no increase in the amount of taxation on bidi in Bangladesh. Despite this fact bidi companies have been organizing press conferences and human chains demanding a reduction in taxes under the banner of a number of puppet organizations.


During the September 2020 alone there have been at least four human chains and two press conferences in Dhaka, Rangpur, Tangail and Sylhet under the banner of eight front organizations such as Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation, Tobacco Farmers and Traders Association of Rangpur,  Tangail District Bidi Sramik Union.


These companies have been lobbying Members of the Parliament as well as 10 Parliament Members requested the Minister of Finance to reduce bidi tax claiming that the bidi workers will become jobless due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But ‘The Revenue and Employment Outcomes of Bidi Taxation in Bangladesh’ report which was compiled by the Bangladesh National Board of Revenue clearly mentions that 78.6 % of the bidi workers, including regular, part – time and contractual workers would give up working for this harmful industry if the government takes measures for the rehabilitation into their livelihoods, showing a more realistic perspectives of this problem.


This interference of tax policy is amidst the COVID-19 pandemic whilst it’s been clearly stated by the World Health Organization that smoking increases the susceptibility of severity and complications associated with COVID-19 infection.These interference will negatively impact on the realization of Bangladeshi Prime Ministers’ vision towards a Tobacco free Bangladesh by 2040.


(Published with the courtesy of Knowledge for Progress (PROGGA) Bangladesh)

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