ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile Thursday has asked the Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) to explore possibilities of converting tobacco curing barns from traditional wood fired to solar powered in order to address the environmental degradation and reduce the pressure on depleting forests.

The Committee directed the board to focus on its research and development (R&D) activities for developing other tobacco crop varieties which were suitable for cultivation in local climate.

Chairman Pakistan Tobacco Board briefed the Committee about the performance of his office and supply of uncertified tobacco seed to the farmers. He said the main objective of establishment of the Board was to promote tobacco cultivation on scientific line through research and development for meeting domestic and foreign demand of quality tobacco. He also apprised the Committee about the regulatory functions of the Board and exports of raw tobacco and its finished products. He apprised that the company had developed varieties of tobacco and would be distributed to the farmers which would not only enhance the tobacco yield but also be pest resistant. He said Board held awareness campaigns for the farmers to avoid cultivation of non-recommended tobacco varieties.

The representative of NTC apprised the Committee that the Commission had addressed various issues of tariff protection and anomalies on the basis of its research studies conducted by involving all stakeholders in the matter.

The officials said that PTC law had increased the jurisdiction of its anti-dumping Appellate Tribunal of PTC and it had initiated 120 anti-dumping duty cases out of which 70 had been disposed of. He further apprised that the Commission had successfully linked its system with Pakistan Custom’s we BOC for immediate collection of duty.

NNI adds: Meeting of the Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile was held under the chairmanship of Siraj Muhammad Khan, MNA in Parliament House. The meeting was attended by Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Minister for Commerce and Textile, MNAs Ch Asad-ur-Rehman, Ms Shaheen Shafiq, Ms Tahira Aurangzeb, Ms Zeb Jaffar, Ms Shahzadi Umerzadi Tiwana, Dr Mehreen Razaque Bhutto, Nazir Ahmed Bughio, Ms Mussarat Ahmad Zeb, Ms Sajida Begum, Secretary, Commerce Division and senior officers of the concerned departments.