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September 12, 2017

Growers ask companies to pick tobacco stocks

Peshawar

September 12, 2017

PESHAWAR: Tobacco growers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have warned to launch a protest campaign if the companies did not pick the tobacco stocks lying with them at reasonable price within the next three days.

Addressing a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Monday, Tobacco Growers Association President Liaqat Yousafzai said that a huge stock of tobacco harvest in different parts of the province was available with growers, but multinational companies didn’t purchase the entire crop from them, which he termed a conspiracy against smaller growers.

He said that around 80,000 tobacco burners were established across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tobacco was a cash crop of the province, with which about 0.3 million people were attached. 

The growers representative deplored that tobacco had not been declared a crop despite the fact that about Rs400 billion business was carried out across the country, and the federal government generated Rs150 billion revenue during last financial year on head of central excise duty (CED) on tobacco.

Senior vice-president of Anjum-e-Kashkaran Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Niamat Shah Roghani, Kashtkar Coordinator Council vice-president Mohammad Ali, and president Tobacco Dealers Association Arsala Khan were also present.

He said the tobacco support price was fixed at Rs178/kg, but not fully implemented. He demanded the price should be increased up to Rs250/kg. 

Liaqat Yousafzai said that the small growers could not store the crop due to financial constraints and urged the tobacco companies to pick the entire stocks lying with growers at a reasonable price.

He said an agreement had been signed between tobacco companies and farmers in this regard, but that was not followed.

Haji Niamat alleged the multinational companies were exploiting small growers through various tactics. He said that tobacco was cash crop, which generated huge revenue to federal and provincial exchequer.

Arsala Khan said the federal government was collecting Rs120 billion per annum on head of various taxes and cigarette despite the exploitative policies of the small growers. He expressed fear that the country would face huge financial losses if the growers stopped growing the crop.

He said the government should withdraw 5 percent advance tax/withholding tax on tobacco. He said the tobacco be declared a crop.

Arsala Khan said the crackdown against trucks and vehicle carrying tobacco leafs must be stopped. He called for removal of impediments to transportation of tobacco. He demanded the merger of all tobacco taxes in cigarette duty and the process of sale.