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KP farmers seek relief against advanced tax

Islamabad

June 4, 2020

Islamabad : Leadership of tobacco growers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and officer bearers of different organizations of KP Agricultural and Rural Development have demanded of PTI Government to provide relief to Tobacco growers of KP in wake of coronavirus pandemic and fix advanced tax on cigarettes products instead of imposing tax on growers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Addressing a Press Conference in National Press Club, Islamabad here on Tuesday leadership of different Organizations of Tobacco growers and unions of Industrial Labour Workers from KP including Kisan Board Pakistan, Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organization, Pakistan Tobacco Workers Association, Anjuman-e-Tahafuz-e-Haqooq-e-Kashtkaran, Labours Federation stated that tobacco is only cash-crop of KP, which has been contributing billions of rupees in National Exchequer as Central Excise Duty and also providing sustenance to millions of people in KP.

Advanced tax on tobacco will ruin the growers and farmers of KP and established monopoly of multi-national tobacco companies in Pakistan and resulted massive unemployment in KP said leadership of growers and farmers at the press conference adding that Multinational Tobacco companies use to exploit local tobacco industry and exploit local tobacco growers and farmers as they purchase tobacco from farmers on the cut rates.

The tobacco growers demanded of the government that government instead of imposing advanced tax on tobacco growers and farmers should impose taxes on cigarettes products. The leadership of growers said that proposed advanced tax on tobacco growers Rs.500/kg will ruin tobacco sector and millions of people associated with this cash-crop.

They appealed to PTI government to reinstate the prevailing tax ratio without imposing advanced tax for tobacco crop adding that in the current year in wake of Covid-19 and amidst hailstorms, wheat and other crops in KP witnessed a decreased production up to 40 percent; therefore the government instead of imposing direct advanced tax on tobacco growers and farmers should impose tax on tobacco products cigarettes.

Addressing the Press Conference, Sadar Mehnatkash Labour Federation Ibrarullah said that local Tobacco sector in KP has been providing jobs to thousands of workers, while on other side, Multinational Companies in KP have terminated hundreds of workers from their employments, and their subsequent cases are in courts. He said that Pakistan Tobacco Company Akurakhattak, has refused to acknowledge Mahnatkash Labour Union, which has also been registered with Pakistan Labour Department, and this company has been exploiting thousands of workers.

Sadar Anjuman Tahfuz-e-Haqooq-e-Kashtkaran Haji Naimatullah said that in 2019 with efforts of Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, PTI Government ceased advanced tax on tobacco growers, but in the budget of 2020-21, there are also suggestions to impose Rs500/kg advanced tax on tobacco which will be equivalent to economic murder of tobacco growers and farmers in KP.

While President Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Haji Abdul Nabi said that advanced tax on tobacco will be tantamount to added burden on poor growers and farmers. He said KP farmers owns tobacco as sole cash-crop in the province, as they grows neither rice nor cotton owing to weather issues. He said tobacco sector in KP has been providing billions of rupees tax to the government and advanced tax on tobacco farmers will ruin this sector at local level.

President Pakistan Tobacco Workers Association, Liaquat Yousafzai said that with prosperity of farmers, the country will be also get prosperous, adding that government should impose all added and advanced tax on tobacco product (Cigarettes pack) instead of imposing these taxes on poor tobacco growers.

He also demanded that local tobacco growers should also be include in Pakistan Tobacco Board. We appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister of KP to provide relief to tobacco sector as they have provided relief to all other sectors of the province in wake of Covid-19.

President Anjuman Tahafuz-e-Kashtkaran Haji Naimatullah said that Tobacco is sole cash crop of KP and millions of people are associated with this crop adding that any advanced and added tax will ruin future of these families. He said Rs500/kg advanced tax on tobacco crop will be alike economic murder of these millions of people associated with this sector.

The leadership said that with implementation of added advanced tax on Tobacco crop, buyers from local market will not purchase tobacco at exorbitant price and ultimately ruined local tobacco sector.