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June 22, 2020

Tobacco growers thank govt for withdrawing advance tax

June 22, 2020

Islamabad : Representatives of tobacco growers and farmers’ associations from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser for their extended efforts to abolish Advance Tax of Rs500 per kg on tobacco crop.

A joint statement of Kissan Board Pakistan, Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organization, Pakistan Tobacco Growers Association, Anjuman Tahaffuz Huqooq Kashtkaraan, Kashtkaar Coordination Council, Mehnat Kash Labor Federation and Dealers Association said that tobacco is cultivated in Swabi, Mardan, Charsadda, Mallakand, Buner and Mansehra and hundreds of thousands of farmers and labor are dependent over tobacco, which is sole cash crop of this region.

The representatives of tobacco growers and farmers’ associations from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and industry labor unions of Mardan, Swabi, Charsadda, Mallakand, Buner and Mansehra also lauded efforts on part of MNA Shandana Gulzar, MNA Sher Akbar Khan, MNA Nafeesa Khattak, Abdul Kareem Khan Minister of Industries KP, MPA Aqibullah Khan, MNA Ehsan Tiwana, Federal Minister for Food Security Fakhar Imam and PS Waseem Gohar for raising voice for tobacco growers and farmers of KPK to withdraw advanced tax on tobacco crop.

Tobacco farmers than­ked Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser for his extended efforts in this regard.

A ceremony was held in this regard by representatives of tobacco growers and farmers here on Sunday to express gratitude to incumbent PTI government as with the support of PTI government, this tax has been waived.

Farmers thanked Prime Minister Imran for taking decision seeing problems of local agriculture sector and to favor the farmers. They said Tobacco exports will improve gradually which will directly cast a positive impact over national economy. Through this decision, industries will flourish, employment will be generated and the monopoly of multinational cigarette manufacturing companies will end, they added.

The speakers on the occasion also warn multinationals tobacco companies to stay away from maligning political leadership of the area especially Speaker National Assembly Asad Qasier. They said attack on a political leadership just because they are trying their best to make sure the sentiments and aspirations of their voters gets reflected in the government policies would be considered an attack on the Democracy. They mentioned Multinationals should stop behaving like Mafia and East Indian Company and should refrain to undermine democracy in Pakistan.

In post budget sessions, the farmers and growers of tobacco from KPK had demanded to waive off Rs 500/kg advance tax, end of monopoly of multinational tobacco companies, farmers to get better reward against their production, tobacco to be purchased respectably, the companies should derive easy procedure to buy tobacco, tobacco crop should flourish, all the companies should open new purchase centers,. They said the companies should appoint technical workers to assist the farmers and factory workers should get legal rights.

‘We want to thank media representatives as well because of whom our voices reached the concerned authorities’, said tobacco growers representatives.

On this occasion, representatives of tobacco growers including Abrarullah, President Mehnat Kash Labor Federation, Rizwanullah, President Kisan Board, Haji Abdul Nabi President Sarhad Agriculture and Rural development Organization, Liaqat Yousafzai, President Pakistan Tobacco Growers Association, Muhammad Ali Dagiwal, Kashtkaar Coordination Council were also present.

They said Multinational cigarette manufacturing companies had pushed the government to mull such brutal tax directly on tobacco leaf. The companies wanted to push out the local buyer from the farmers thus to manipulate producers according to their own wish afterwards, they added

Farmers association maintained that they were not against any of the cigarette manufacturing companies.

All the companies should take part in tobacco purchasing and no company should be restricted to enter the market so that a healthy competition prevails among buyers in the market. That’s how the farmer will get best price of their production.

Earlier, in post budget endeavours to quash Rs500/kg advanced tax on tobacco, the farmers had presented their point-of-view in front of the standing committee formed by the Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser who agreed with farmers’ demands and then called meetings of relative departments. Farmers convinced officers of all the departments.

The government realized challenges faced by farmers that this tax will directly affect tobacco growers in KPK and decided to withdraw advance tax on tobacco leaf.