SWABI - Farmers and industry labour unions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of additional tax of Rs 500 per kg on tobacco leaf in the new budget 2020/21 as this tax would further shrink the livelihood thousands of families directly dependent on the tobacco sec­tor.

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 gathered at Munsif Dar, Swabi, yesterday to register their protest against the possible imposition of, what they termed, the unjusti­fied tax.

They also urged National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and other parlia­mentarians to play their role to stop imposition of any imposition of such tax as it would badly affect the tobacco sector from the province.

The representatives claimed that the multinational tobacco companies operating in Pakistan are having a strong lobby among the decision making authorities and may manipulate the situation in their own interests.

Through this tax, local buyers of tobacco would lose strength to purchase tobacco from the farmers, resultantly these multinational companies would enjoy full command on the tobacco leaf and can easily exploit tobacco farm­ers according to their own will.

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