ISLAMABAD-The additional tax on tobacco growers will cause economic exploitation of the cultivators leading to their joblessness, speakers said on Saturday.

In a conference held here, President Agricultural Development Organization Abdul Nabi said that the additional Rs300/kg tax on tobacco growers will leave hundreds and thousands of workers jobless.

He also termed Rs300/kg tax on tobacco growers a move by powerful circles in tobacco business to favour the multinational tobacco manufacturing companies. “But, it will cause economic damage to the growers of tobacco who are least beneficiary,” he said.

The ADO president added that the taxation needed to be increased on tobacco manufacturing companies instead of growers.

Tobacco manufacturing companies already have seized the benefits of Workers Welfare Board, leaving 6,300 technical workers jobless.

President Labour Foundation Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Abrarullah said that tobacco sector of KP was contributing Rs100 billion annually to the national exchequer. He said that, however, Rs300/kg tax on the growers of tobacco would crush this sector in the province.

“The government should set its focus on multinational tobacco manufacturing companies and hold them accountable,” he said. 

He also said that multinational companies were not only paying low tax against their profit margin, but also making economic exploitation of thousands of workers and technical experts associated with tobacco sector.

He also said that 210 permanent employees have been suspended from Philip Morris Pakistan Limited and they should be restored on their jobs.

The speakers also said that the economic exploitation of labours and growers will put enormous loss to national economy.

The tobacco growers also demanded to take action on illegal closure of factories and restoration of permanent employees suspended from Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited.

The participants also urged the government to resolve concerning issues of Tobacco sector, otherwise tobacco cultivators from KPK will come to roads for their demands.

They said that workers exploitation will deprive employee’s children educational facilities from working focus schools. The employees are being deprived of health facilities as well through social security system.

The leadership of labour unions also warned that if the government did not resolve their legal demands, they will come to roads for their legal demands.