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June 10, 2020

Farmers say no to advance tax

Islamabad

June 10, 2020

Islamabad : Tobacco farmers and industrial workers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tuesday held a press conference to appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of the proposal regarding imposition of advance tax of Rs500 per kg on tobacco leaf in upcoming budget 2020-21.

They protested against the proposal of imposing advance tax and demanded the government to tax cigarette pack instead.

“Remove additional tax on tobacco leaf and put tax on cigarette pack,” representatives of farmers and industrial workers demanded after a meeting. “The new tax will bring an end to the livelihood of our and a lot of other labourers’ families,” they said.

The meeting asked of the government to take action against multinational companies who have laid off thousands of workers. “Multinational companies are working against national economy. After thorough inquiry culprits should be punished,” they demanded, in a joint statement issued after the meeting.

Senior representatives of Kissan Board Pakistan, Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organization, Pakistan Tobacco Growers Association, Anjuman Tahaffuz Huqooq Kashtkaraan, Kashtkaar Coordination Council, Mehnat Kash Labour Federation and Dealers Association along with hundreds of workers attended the meeting where they protested against the move.

The proposal of advance tax, according to the FBR, was floated by multinational companies to which representatives of farmers said these companies were influencing government’s decision through lobbying.

Explaining the issue, they said that the lobby of multinational companies was pushing the government for the brutal measure to tax tobacco leaf after which local buyer of tobacco would lose the strength to purchase from the farmer. Consequently, multinational companies would enjoy full authority of the tobacco leaf and can easily exploit tobacco farmers according to their very own will, they said.

These multinational companies would then look towards international markets in a bid to fulfil the local demand of cigarette market which will directly affect national economy and tax collections in return, they said.

Tobacco is the only cash crop of KP through which government earns billion of rupees in terms of taxes every year. Imposition of any such tax would badly affect this sector as hundreds of thousands of workers associated with this sector would go jobless and the thousands of families dependent upon them would face the impact.

The multinational companies were offloading thousands of permanent workers, and now wanted to deprive livelihood of hundreds of thousands of tobacco farmers dependent on the cash crop.

The farmers said that these multinational companies were forcefully selling the wood used in processing tobacco leaf at the rate of Rs700 instead of Rs500. Moreover various fertilizers and pesticide were being sold to us forcibly.