Round table titled “Improving the taxation system for tobacco products in Bosnia and Herzegovina – how to create a effective policy for society?” was held on 15.11.2018. in Banja Luka. The aim of the roundtable was to present results of the research project “Accelerating Progress on Effective Tobacco Tax Policies in Low and Middle Income Countries” for Bosnia and Herzegovina facilitating discussion on potential systemic changes in tobacco taxation.
The roundtable was attended by a total of 16 participants from 8 different institutions. Beside the representatives of the research team of the Faculty of Political Sciences and the Faculty of Economics at the University of Banja Luka as project partners from B&H, the round table was attended by representatives of the Institute of Economic Sciences from Belgrade as the main project coordinator, representatives of the Ministry of Finance RS, The World Bank in BiH, Ministry of Health RS, Ministry of Trade RS and Indirect taxation authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The round table was opened by Duško Bodroža from the Institute of Economic Sciences from Belgrade, who presented the main project objectives, activities performed in the region and it’s goals for 2018. Research results were presented by Saša Petković, coordinator of the research activities in B&H. Petkovic summarized the results and policy recommendations, explaining the specific measures that could lead to a more optimal taxation policy for the society in BiH. Borislav Vukojević, project leader for BiH, briefly presented the results of qualitative research conducted through focus groups organized in 6 cities across BiH. Presentations were followed by discussion that was very constructive and useful for all participants helping the project team to enhance policy relevance of the performed research.
The discussion ended by summarizing the main project findings and policy recommendations:
- The increase of the excises has positive results for the society, but it is necessary to insist on the synergistic effects with other policies and measures related to tobacco control;
- More scientific research is needed to deal with topics related to costs of treating diseases that are associated with harmful effects of smoking;
- The BiH Indirect Taxation Authority is responsible for collection of excise duties, therefore it is necessary to adopt better policies and improve coordination in both the entity and state level;
- In case of undeveloped institutions, increase of the price of cigarettes might lead to the growth of the black market, but this should be investigated as a separate topic;
- Project should particularly focus on young people who are potential smokers, and revised taxation policy should take into account potential effects on this population;
- Tobacco taxation in B&H has been led under specific circumstances characterized by complex administrative procedures in which some routine decisions cannot be easily adopted, having implications on the success of tobacco control.
Banja Luka, 15.11.2018.