KATHMANDU, May 30: The government has shown generosity in the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, which affect public health.
Presenting the budget for the next fiscal year 2023/24, the government has increased the tax on cigarettes by only three percent. The tax on beer and liquor has not been increased.
However, the price of beer will increase by Rs 10 per bottle. Currently, the excise duty on beer is Rs 228 per liter. It has been increased to Rs 235. Due to this, the price of beer will increase by Rs seven per liter.
The 13 percent value addition tax is also charged on the increased seven rupees. Due to this, the price of beer will increase by Rs 10 per 650 ml bottle.
Looking at the budget trend of the last 10 years, the tax on cigarettes has increased by an average of 10 percent every year. Last year, there was a 19 percent increase in the budget brought by former Finance Minister Janardan Sharma. However, this time there has been an increase of only three percent which is the lowest since last 10 years.
Comparing the prices of Nepal and India, Nepalese cigarettes are still cheaper by more than 100 rupees per pack. In order to control the illegal importation of cigarettes, the tax on cigarettes should have been increased in Nepal. However, it is suspected that the lowest tax increase in history has been made in the setting with the cigarette producers.
As taxes on beer and alcohol are being increased every year because of the negative impact on public health, this year the government has shown extra generosity in those two areas.