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A delegation of UFAT met with Honorable Finance Minister

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A delegation of United Forum Against Tobacco (UFAT) met with Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Finance, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh on 10 April 2017 at Bangladesh Secretariat. The delegation led by National Professor Brig. (Rtd.) Abdul Malik, Founder & President, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh.

In this meeting UFAT representatives has expressed strong demands to the Honorable Finance Minister for simplifying the existing tobacco tax structure and imposing higher tax on tobacco products as the price of those products can be increased effectively. They urged to consider this issues in the upcoming budget of FY 2017-18. By this time, a set of specific recommendation regarding tobacco taxation has been submitted before Honorable Minister.

In addition, UFAT representatives also appealed intensely for the faster adoption and implementation of "Health Development Surcharge Management Policy" as well as to provide support to the activities of anti-tobacco organizations of the country utilizing the money earned from Health Development Surcharge from tobacco products. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and the eminent Economist of Bangladesh emphasized on raising tax on tobacco products effectively and control tobacco cultivation as the consumption of tobacco products can be reduced, which will be a realistic effort for tobacco control.

Honorable Finance Minister listened to everyone's comments with due importance. He said that tobacco control is very important issue for protecting public health. The non-government organizations of the country have to work with the Government in a coordinated way on the issues of tobacco control especially creating public awareness- Honorable Minister emphasized.

In the meeting representatives of UFAT member organizations were present and raised a unified voice on tobacco taxation. They are- Professor Mollah Obayedullah Baki, President, Bangladesh Cancer Society; Professor Golam Mohiuddin Faruque, Joint Secretary General, Bangladesh Cancer Society; Professor Salimur Rahman, President, Association of Physicians of Bangladesh; Professor AKM Mosharraf Hossain, Bangladesh Society of Medicine; Professor Sohel Reza Choudhury, Head of the Department, Epidemiology & Research, National Heart Foundation Hospital & Research Institute; Associate Professor Sheikh Shahinur Hossain, Convenor, Co-ordination Cell, Bangladesh Lung Foundation; Dr. Shohael Mahmud Arafat, Secretary General, Association of Physicians of Bangladesh and Mr. Md. Shariful Alam, Lead Consultant, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), Bangladesh.