swabi             -        Tobacco farmers and industrial workers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tuesday appealed Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of the proposal regarding imposition of advance tax of Rs 500 per kg on tobacco leaf in the upcoming budget 2020-21 and said it would entail serious consequences for the local tobacco industry. 

They held a protest meeting here against the proposal of imposing advance tax of Rs 500 on tobacco leaf and demanded of the government to tax cigarette pack instead. 

On the occasion, leader of the tobacco farmers and industrial workers said that the proposed new tax will bring end to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of families directly dependent upon the tobacco sector.

The meeting discussed the issue in detail and also demanded the government to take action against multinational companies which have allegedly suspended hundreds of workers.

Representatives 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 attended the meeting where they protested against the move. 

Explaining the issue, they said that the lobby of multinational companies was out get tax imposed on tobacco leaf after which local buyers of tobacco would lose the strength to purchase from the farmers. Consequently, multinational companies would enjoy full authority of the tobacco leaf and can easily exploit tobacco farmers according to their very own will, they said. 

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 hundred of thousands of workers associated with this sector would go jobless.

Recalling last year’s intervention against advance tax of Rs 300, they requested Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser to once again play his role against imposition of advance tax and save thousands of job and the local industry.

The participants of the meeting expressed the hope that the federal government would take a wise decision keeping in view the ground economic situation of the tobacco farmers.