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April 11, 2019

Growers demand end to new tax on tobacco

Islamabad

April 11, 2019

Islamabad : Representatives and office-bearers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Labour Federation, Sarhad Agricultural & Rural Development Organisation and growers of tobacco from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa demanded of Prime Minister Imran khan to end the newly announced Rs300 per kilogram additional tax on tobacco.

They also accused tobacco multinational companies of wreaking havoc on national economy and exploiting workers and demanded of Philip Morris (Pakistan) to restore 210 sacked employees and provide due benefits to the workers.

Addressing a news conference here on Wednesday at the National Press Club, KPK Labour Federation President Ibrarullah, Provincial President Sarhad Agricultural Rural Development Organisation Haji Abdul Nabi, President Labour Union Pakistan Tobacco Company Ahsanullah, Chairman Ittehad Workers Union Ammadul Hassan of Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited and General Secretary Sarhad Agricultural Rural Development Organisation Hussain Ahmed demanded of the government to held accountable all the leading international tobacco multinational companies responsible for making economic exploitation of workers in Pakistan.

The representatives and office-bearers of tobacco sector and tobacco growers demanded of the government to take action on illegal closure of factories under 1934 Factory Act. The representatives also demanded for the restoration of permanent employees suspended illegally from Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited.

The participants also warned the government to resolve concerning issues of Tobacco sector, otherwise tobacco cultivators from KPK will come to roads for their demands.

KP Labour Federation President Ibrarullah stated that tobacco sector of KP contributing Rs100 billion annually in national exchequer but newly introduced Rs.300/kg tax on growers of tobacco will crush this sector in KP. He also added that Tobacco Multinational companies are wrecking the economy. The government should hold accountable all these tobacco companies. These multinational companies are causing damage to the national economy and on the other side making economic exploitation of thousands of workers and technical experts associated with the tobacco sector.

He said 210 permanent employees suspended by Philip Morris Pakistan Limited should be restored.

Provincial President of Sarhad Agricultural Rural Development Organisation Haji Abdul Nabi speaking with the conference also pointed out that added Rs300/kg tax on tobacco will leave hundreds and thousands of workers jobless which will cause exploitation of labourers and growers but also put the enormous loss to the national economy.

He also added that Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited was not only exploiting workers but also deprived employee's children educational facilities from working focus schools.

He said benefits in connection of Workers Welfare Board had also been seized by leaving 6300 technical workers jobless.

Provincial President Sarhad Agricultural Rural Development Organisation Haji Abdul Nabi also said tobacco is major cash-crop for thousands of growers in KPK and recent tax of Rs300/kg on tobacco will adversely affect the small growers of tobacco.

“The decision will put minor pressure on bigger tobacco factories and tobacco industrial sector. These growers use to contribute Rs100 billion annually in national exchequer but added tax of Rd300 per kg will damage this sector,” he said.

The leadership of labour unions warned that if the government did not meet their demands, they would agitate.

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