Conference on health tax reforms – challenges and lessons learnt

24  June 2024    10:00 am CEST

In cooperation with the World Bank & Johns Hopkins University.


World Bank office in Vienna, Praterstrasse 31/1


June 24, 2024

10:00    Opening remarks
Xiaoqing Yu, World Bank Country Director for the Western Balkans
Jo Birckmayer, Bloomberg Philanthropies
Mario Holzner, Director, Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies

10:30    Keynote 1: Tobacco Taxation in Europe in the global context
Jeff Drope, Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Keynote 2: Tobacco Taxation Trends: European Union Perspective
Gintare Milkamanaviciene, European Commission, Policy Officer, DG TAXUD

11:20    Panel 1: The political economy of tobacco taxation

  • Moderation: Olena Doroshenko, Senior Health Economist, World Bank
  • Aleksandra Nakjeva Ruzhin, Former Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance, North Macedonia
  • Bert Brys, Senior Tax Economist, OECD
  • Dr. Ion Salaru, Deputy Director of the National Public Health Agency, Moldova
  • Jarosław Neneman, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Finance, also University of Lodz, Poland

12:30    Lunch

14:00    Keynote 3: Alcohol and sugar sweeten beverages taxation in Europe
Norman Maldonado, Health Tax Economist, World Bank

14:30    Presentation 1: Modelling the impacts of tobacco tax increases on consumption, tax revenues and health outcomes in Montenegro – Dr. Mirjana Cizmovic, Institute for Socioeconomic Analysis, Montenegro

14:45    Presentation 2: Macroeconomic impact of tobacco taxation in Serbia – Dr. Jovan Zubovic, Institute of Economic Sciences, Serbia

15:00    Presentation 3: The impact of tax and price on youth smoking initiation – evidence from Albania – Dr. Elvina Merkaj, Development Solutions Associates, Albania

15:15    Discussion

15:45    Coffee break

16:15    Panel 2: Operative environment of health taxes

  • Moderator: Hana Ross, Professor, University of Cape Town
  • Agron Llugaliu, Customs General Director, Kosovo
  • Sava Laketić, Acting Director, Tax Administration, Montenegro
  • Nermin Koštrebić, Senior Inspector-Investigator in the Department for prevention and detection of financial crime and corruption, State Investigation and Protection Agency, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Vladimir Cebanenco, Head, Central Customs Office, Moldova

17:45    End of day 1 and reception


June 25, 2024

10:00    Presentation 4: The economics of tobacco farming in North Macedonia – Dr. Biljana Tashevska, Analytica, North Macedonia

10:15    Presentation 5: Addressing tobacco tax evasion in Montenegro – Dr. Ana Mugosa, Institute for Socio-Economic Analysis and Johns Hopkins University, Montenegro

10:30    Presentation 6: Measuring the economic costs of tobacco use – Evidence from Bosnia and Herzegovina – Dr. Dragan Gligoric, University of Banja Luka, BIH

10:45    Discussion

11:15    Coffee break

11:45    Keynote 4: Health impacts of alcohol and tobacco use on the working age population and youth, Michal Stoklosa, Economist, Fiscal Policies for Health, World Health Organization

12:15    Key takeaways: Richard Stern, Partner and Leader Tax Administration and Reform Services (Global), Ernst and Young

12:30    Closing remarks: Richard Record, Lead country economist for the Western Balkans, World Bank