PESHAWAR         -   The All Pakistan Cigarette Manufacturing Association (APCMA) has sought an open and comprehensive discussion of stakeholders of tobacco sector ahead of the next budget.

In a letter written to FBR Chairperson Nausheen Javed Amjad, APCMA Secretary Ashfaqur Rehman said the purpose of the proposed meeting and the discus­sion is to explore options for enhancing tax collection and safeguard the local industry by addressing their concerns. “FBR may convene an open discussion in which all the stakeholders of tobacco sector including tobacco companies, ministry of health, ministry of fi­nance and others to be invited,” the letter reads.

Ashfaq said that the purpose of the open discussion is to reach a consensus on a proposal which will be viable for all the stakeholders of the tobacco sector in the country.

“The approach of reaching a conclusive proposal the upcoming budget will prevent controversies that raise every year by different quarters after the Finance Bill is tabled in the parliament for approval,” he explained.

Further, the degree of accuracy in collection of in­formation used by various agencies and other pa­rameters should also be discussed by FBR and agreed upon beforehand with the stakeholders in order to avoid any difficulty that might be faced by all/any of the stakeholders of tobacco sector,” the letter said.

“We hope that your good self would look into this pro­posal of APCMA and will consider it favourably for not only protecting the legitimate concerns of the tobacco sec­tor but also for securing revenue targets,” it further said.

The APCMA represents local manufacturers of cig­arettes based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is also recognized as one of the finest tobacco producing ar­eas of Pakistan.