Health Minister to propose tax increase on tobacco products

Health minister says taxes from tobacco products would be spent for the medical treatment of those who are unable to afford the medical costs.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Minister for Health and Population, Mohan Bahadur Basnet has pledged to introduce in the Council of Ministers a proposal to increase taxes on tobacco products. The Minister said this while receiving a memorandum from a delegation of Health and Population Department of the CPN (UML) today. He said that taxes from tobacco products would be spent for the medical treatment of those people unable to afford the medical costs. “Now taxes on tobacco products fall behind the rates determined by the World Health Organization. Once taxes are hiked, it would be costlier, leading to a potential fall in the consumption. But the taxes from its use would be used to develop a basket fund for poor and indigent community,” the Minister said.

He said that medical professionals are leaving the country due to lack of better payment and facilities. “Doctors and nurses went abroad from Nepal are denied better payment and facilities.” He added that the government has already directed the entire health facilities to allocate 10 percent of beds for treatment of the needy, warning that the violation of the directive would be punishable.

CPN-UML Health Department Chief and lawmaker Krishna Gopal Shrestha handed an 11-point memorandum to the Minister, demanding quality healthcare service to the citizens. The demands include proper implementation of the provision of 10 percent free treatment in hospitals, easing health care services for eight sorts of chronic diseases, making health insurance program effective, intensifying the building of a basic health facility at 396 local levels, making dialysis and surgery services accessible, bringing the Federal Health Service Act soon and promoting safety of health professionals, among others.