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Covert Agenda, International Tax Organization It Must Caution, DEPOK – The government is asked to be aware of the movements of the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) for allegedly possessing a hidden agenda to influence the economic policies taken by the government.

Economist and Vice Chairman of the Institute of Demography, University of Indonesia Abdillah Ahsan said that the government should be careful on the recommendations given ITIC.

“The state can be used as a tool by the tobacco industry to make profits through tobacco control policies are weak, especially the tax policy is very effective to reduce consumption,” he said in an official statement received on Monday (05/23/2016).

Today, Monday (05/23/2016) 13th Annual Asia-Pacific Tax Forum was initiated by ITIC opened in Jakarta. Institutions which claims itself as a research and educational institute an independent nonprofit that claims will bring tax reform in Indonesia.

But, in fact, behind the ITIC approach to the Indonesian government, to infiltrate the hidden agenda of the tobacco industry.

Allegations of hidden agenda, especially on the issue of tobacco control, as in the case of tax / cigarette taxes, given what has been done ITIC in other countries.

Therefore, the government should not make a commitment on the ITIC. Tax reform is a record that should be reviewed, especially in the Tobacco Tax Section as it will sacrifice the people who become the target market for the benefit of cheap cigarettes industry.

Kartono Mohamad, Chairman of the Tobacco Control Support Center (TCSC) as well as Advisory Board Member National Commission on Tobacco Control ITIC said that what was done in the countries he approached actually just a camouflage for the hidden agenda that infiltrated the cigarette industry bigwigs.

According to him, it is one of their strategies in order to perpetuate its business in a subtle way.

“Government officials, especially in Kementeri Finance, potential to influence. It is very dangerous for tobacco control efforts in an attempt protection of people,” he said.

The statement also added that in 2015, ITIC met with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla. During the meeting, President of ITIC Daniel Witt gave the book Excise Tax in ASEAN: A Guide to Reform Ahead of AEC 2015 to the Vice President.

Witt says that the book discusses among others the implementation of customs clearance for cross-border trade, for example excise for commodities such as cigarettes, alcohol, and so on.

The book has also been given to the Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro. It was supposed to be a first step ITIC approach to the Indonesian government.

The first thing that should be questioned, according to the ITIC is whether independent? In fact, on the board of directors ITIC stands four major tobacco industry, Philip Morris (PMI), Japan Tobacco International (JTI), British American Tobacco (BAT) and Imperial Tobacco.

Two years after being founded, ITIC revealed that they provide access or support in policy making for the sponsor, including the transnational tobacco companies.

ITIC has been lobbying various nations to oppose the tobacco tax policies. They make a tax manual which essentially facilitate the investment climate but tucked inside a chapter on tobacco tax.

“Will they clear, namely that the government did not raise high taxes on cigarettes, something which is contrary to international rules, including the World Bank.”

In May 2015, the World Bank withdraw financial backing for the 12st Annual Asia-Pacific Tax Forum in New Delhi, India, which is being organized by ITIC.

The World Bank refused to give support and the Indian government did not send top officials to the forum. All done for the protection of society by giving exemption on tobacco products.

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