Health and tobacco control activists have been pleading the government of Pakistan to take notice of the delay in implementation of Health Levy bill on cigarettes and sugary drinks. This bill was approved by Cabinet in 2019 and forwarded to relevant departments for quick implementation. However, it still stays pending.
Addressing a press conference at National Press Club Islamabad, Human Development Foundation (HDF), Society for the Protection of the Rights of Child (SPARC) and Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) asked the government to recall about the Health Levy Bill, passed by the cabinet in 2019 and is yet not implemented.
Mr. Syed Anis Bilal, Project Lead, HDF stated that FBR is responsible for delay in the implementation of health levy bill. Currently, the economic situation in Pakistan is unstable and government is in need of revenues which can be utilized for financing government scheme like Universal Health Coverage.
Noncompliance in implementation of health levy bill has already cost the government a total of Rs. 55 billion in revenues last year. Revenue generated from the health levy bill can be utilized for pandemic control and guarantee better health for our people.
r. Sanaullah Ghumman, General secretary, PANAH shared that in their pursuit on the current status of Health Levy bill, they found that the bill has been going back and forth between FBR, Health Ministry and Finance Ministry. He mentioned that FBR shared in writing that it does not have any issues with the implementation of health levy bill.