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Sin taxes set to rise to cover welfare for elderly poor

Aug 01. 2017
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By The Nation

Theee Cabinet on Tuesday approved a 2-percentage-point increase in “sin” taxes for the purpose of funding welfare for the elderly poor.

Ministers gave the nod to an elderly welfare bill that will require an increase of this magnitude in the excise duty on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes in order to support a welfare fund for senior citizens who are poor, Prime Minister’s Office Vice Minister Kobsak Pootrakool said.

Under the measure, the fund will receive about Bt4 billion annually from the Excise Department for this purpose. 

The number of elderly poor around the country is estimated to be 3.5 million and, while these senior citizens currently get monthly handouts from the government, the amount they receive is not sufficient, he explained. 

The Finance Ministry this month is expected to submit new excise rates for Cabinet approval, including the higher duties on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages. 

Cigarette taxes currently range from 10 to 87 per cent of the ex-factory price, while duties on alcoholic drinks range from 25 to 60 per cent.

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