Ministry of Health and Sports is planning to annually raise the taxes levied on tobacco and tobacco-related products.
In a bid to control the use of tobacco and tobacco-related products, the ministry is working on stepping up the tasks of the Myanmar Tobacco and Tobacco Products Consumption Controlling Central Committee, rewriting the new law, increasing the tobacco tax rates annually after the inflation rate and increased national income are taken into account and implementing the tobacco free programs, in accord with Article-8 of the International Convention Tobacco and Tobacco Related products, laws and procedures.
Myanmar sees an increase in the tobacco consumption day by day. In addition, there is the increasing production of a wide variety of tobacco products, and the prices of tobacco products are the lowest among Asean countries.
The prices of tobacco and tobacco products are still relatively low compared to those in neighbouring countries even though the government increase the tax rates occasionally. Since 2006, Myanmar has long been working to reduce the use of tobacco and tobacco related products after the enactment of law. The authorities are still weak in educating the people and taking action against the law breakers.
An official of the Ministry of Health and Sports said: “The collection of tobacco tax has achieved 30 per cent. The higher the tobacco prices, the lower the tobacco tax revenues. The collection of tobacco tax in neighbouring countries is above 70 per cent. Most of countries collect the tobacco tax at a rate of over 70 per cent. The collection of tobacco tax is more than 70 per cent in Thailand. Thailand has to take 10 years to reach this stage. Myanmar has no policy about tobacco. Myanmar passes the tax law only every year and has no long-term plan. The tax levied on a packet of tobacco worth over Ks 1,000 is Ks 16 only. We want the government to raise the tobacco tax. But it is a little bit difficult.”