ISLAMABAD - The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is likely to impose five per cent regulatory duty on the import of processed tobacco leaf in the budget 2009-10 to encourage the domestic growers, TheNation reliably learnt on Wednesday. Sources inside the taxing body informed that cigarettes and other tobacco products not being essential items fall under taxable commodities at higher rates and therefore FBR was considering to impose five per cent regulatory duty on the import of tobacco. Furthermore, he said, the import of the said crop caused huge loss of precious foreign reserves and increased import bill unnecessarily. Therefore, he maintained, the imposition of enhanced duty on the tobacco would help control the import of the commodity. The decision, if taken, would also enhance the prices of cigarettes and other tobacco products thus decreasing their use, which would be a positive sign in terms of public health, the source further opined. In the budget 2008-09, too, the government had slapped enhanced regulatory duty on import of certain luxury items to lessen the import bill by US $ 500 million. For the purpose, the import of a number of unnecessary items including cosmetics, cell phones, refrigerators and other electronic appliances were taxed by 15 to 35 per cent in the said budget. The imposition of duty on the import of tobacco would not only raise customs duty collection, but also check the consumption of cigarettes in the country, the source added. It is worth mentioning that for the last so many years, the said commodity was exempted from imposition of regulatory or additional customs duty. The govt had increased Federal Excise Duty (FED) on various brands of cigarettes except highest duty slab of 63 per cent, from February 14, 2009. The government had amended Federal Excise Act, 2005 through Federal Excise (Amendment) Ordinance, 2009 of February 14, 2009 to further rationalise the existing slabs of duty on cigarettes.