The Current Implementation Status of FCTC Article 5.3 in Bangladesh


Md. Mehedi Hasan
Industry Monitoring officer, PROGGA

Bangladesh ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2004 and passed the
tobacco control law in 2005 based on the Framework. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
conducts a number of tobacco control activities along with implementing the obligations under the
FCTC. However, the overall tobacco control activities of the country, in particular measures to reduce
the demand for and supply of tobacco, are thwarted and debilitated by the repeated interference of the
tobacco industry.

In 2008, the government of Bangladesh adopted the FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines (1) which provides specific
measures to protect the government from tobacco industry interference. Although almost a decade has
already passed, the policies based on the Guidelines are yet to be formulated. As a result, different
policies and initiatives regarding tobacco control have remained vulnerable to the interference of the


The government has not invited tobacco industry or its representatives to sit in government
interagency/ advisory group body that sets public health policy. While the Ministry of Health and Family
Welfare (MoHFW) has shown commitment to advance tobacco control, the Ministry of Finance,
especially the National Board of Revenues (NBR), has been utilised by the tobacco industry as its conduit
to influence policy. The Bangladesh Cigarette Manufacturers' Association (BCMA) sent letters to the
Finance Minister opposing the proposed draft National Tobacco Control Policy 2019. Copies of the letter
were also sent to high-level officials including Secretary to the Department of Finance, Secretary to the
Department of Health Services, MoHFW; Senior Secretary to the Internal Resources Division and
Chairman of National Board of Revenues (NBR). Following the request from the cigarette manufacturers
association (BCMA) at a meeting in October 2019, the NBR requested the MoHFW to consider the
opinion of the industry before finalising the National Tobacco Control Policy 2019. (2)


In continuation of the practice of the previous years, on 25 September 2019, British American Tobacco
Bangladesh (BATB) donated a hefty sum of money, 101, 654,337 BDT, to Bangladesh Labour Welfare
Foundation. BATB representatives handed the cheque over to State Minister for Labour and
Employment. The news and images of the donation acceptance event were later publicised on the
Ministry’s official Facebook page as well as in the mass media. (3)


The newly retired former Managing Director of Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) took up the
position of Non-Executive Director of BATB. The government continues to hold 9.61% investment in
BATB. (4)

There is no policy in place to prohibit contributions from the tobacco industry to political campaigns.
However, in general, election candidates are required to disclose contributions received to bear election
expense at the time of submitting the nomination paper, according to section 44A of the Representation
of the People Order, 1972. (5)


The government has made efforts towards better preventive measures, leading to some progress. The
National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) drafted two codes-of-conduct based on Article 5.3, one for NTCC
and another for all government officials. A meeting was convened by NTCC with committee members to
review the drafts on 22 January 2019. (6) (7) These codes, however, were yet to be finalised. The
government requires the tobacco industry to submit monthly (company wise) revenue statements only.
These statements are submitted as a requirement under the National Board of Revenue. In addition,
tobacco companies must submit monthly statements of health surcharge deposit, according to the form
attached with the “Health Development Surcharge (Collection and Payment) Rules 2017”. However, the
tobacco companies are not required to submit information on their market shares, marketing
expenditures, revenues, philanthropy and political contributions.



1 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Guidelines for implementation of FCTC Article 5.3, Geneva 2008, [decision

2 Finalising Nat’l Tobacco Control Policy: Anti-tobacco campaigners fear obstruction by tobacco
manufacturers, Daily Sun, 19 September 2019, https://www.daily-


4 Annual Report 2019, BAT Bangladesh, page 51

5 The Representation of the People Order, 1972,

6 NTCC Newsletter, Issue: January 2019,
January'19.pdf (p 2)

7 Bangladesh Government Report to WHO FCTC Conference of Parties (COP), 2018, (C124)

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