ISLAMABAD - Members of a parliamentary panel yes­terday opposed a proposal of increas­ing tax on tobacco from the existing Rs 10 per kg to Rs 500 per kg.

The proposal was put before the Na­tional Assembly Sub-Committee of the Special Committee on agricultur­al products headed by convener Shan­dana Gulzar Khan where it faced severe criticism.

According to the FBR representatives who briefed the committee, the pro­posal was given by multinational to­bacco companies.

Malik Ihsan Ullah Tiwana, member of the committee, opposed the proposal and said imposition of such heavy tax­es will overburden the farmers (of to­bacco).

Economic expert Ikramul Haq said that the FBR should take a strict action against all those who were not paying taxes under the existing tax laws.

Highlighting the issues related to to­bacco industry, he said that carbon and sugar taxes are imposed all across the world but the ministry of law and jus­tice has rejected the proposal by de­claring it a provincial subject.

Haq also said that the FBR has im­posed 5 percent advance tax on tobac­co but it was not being collected.

However, representatives from Paki­stan Tobacco Board informed the com­mittee that entire record regarding tax collection was available with them.

In response the FBR said that they lacked resources for the monitoring of the tobacco industry.

Tobacco farmers and industrial workers have written letter to Nation­al Assembly Speaker against the pro­posal.

The letter explained that multina­tional companies are trying their best that the government enhances advance tax on tobacco which will annihilate the local industry and help establish their monopoly.

The farmers said they fear “exploita­tion” at the hands of the multinational companies once their monopoly is es­tablished.