Opposition parties described this Thursday as "regrettable" the tax reduction applied to tobacco in the tax reform, approved by the Congress of Paraguay, and considered that in the sanction of the bill the profit on the health of the population prevailed.
The Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday introduced a modification in the text that reduces the maximum rates of tobacco from 27% to 24%, so the document will go back to the Senate, where the changes will have to be ratified.
The regulation was presented by the Government of Mario Abdo Benítez with the objective of modernizing and simplifying the Paraguayan tax system around six large taxes.
The deputy of Patria Querida Party (PPQ) Sebastián García explained to Efe the difficulties that his group has found to modify the content, since the project was approved with votes in favor of the ruling Colorado Party and a sector of the Liberal.
The parliamentarian stressed that his training tried to carry out six or eight modifications, among them the one to tax the tobacco to levels of other countries of the region.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), published in 2018, in Paraguay tobacco is taxed with 17.4%, which places the country in the tail of a table headed by Chile with 89.1% , followed by Argentina (80.3%) and Ecuador (73.8%).
"It is unfortunate, the profit of the tobacco companies is more important than the health of the seven million Paraguayans," said Guasu Front Senator Esperanza Martínez in a video released today by her party.
The parliamentarian, who was Minister of Health during the Government of Fernando Lugo (2008-2012), recalled that her training also raised raising tobacco taxes "to 50% of what is now in the region."
Martinez said that "sometimes people have to punish those who vote against social interests" if you consider that "it is a product that catastrophically increases health expenditures."
Congresswoman Celeste Amarilla, of the liberal bloc that does not follow the plans of the ruling party in Congress, was one of the biggest criticisms of the reduction of fees during Wednesday's session and challenged her colleagues to "keep dying of cancer."
The deputy criticized the former president Horacio Cartes (2013-2018), the country's main tobacco businessman and leader of the current Colorado Party whose legislators defend the low taxation of the sector.
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