PESHAWAR - Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has directed the Finance Department to avoid any financial cut on approved schemes of subsidized agriculture inputs and other initiatives aimed at economic development and welfare of common people.

He advised that development schemes must not be tampered once properly worked out and approved by competent forums warning that authorities if found creating impediments in development and service delivery activities in the name of rationalization or any other pretext would be shown the door.

He also approved the formula for distributing tobacco cess among seven tobacco growing districts of the province except that of Swabi for which he ordered to work it out again to ascertain its due share being largest tobacco growing district.

The chief minister issued these directives while presiding over a meeting regarding utilization of tobacco cess, at the CM Secretariat.

The meeting was informed that an amount of Rs.219.63 million was distributed among seven tobacco growing districts and out of this amount the share of Swabi district was fixed at 114.83 million for the fiscal 2013-14. It was told that tobacco cess is being used for special maintenance and development of roads, promotion of education besides other activities towards tobacco production in these districts.

During deliberations on the proposed distribution formula for the current financial year, the meeting considered the reservations made by the Senior Minister, who hails from Swabi district. In this connection it was decided that the share allocated for Swabi district would be reassessed on the basis of volume of tobacco produce instead of mere allocation to the constituencies.

Exploring ways and means for generating more revenue from tobacco industry, the meeting reviewed in detail the potential for cigars’ tobacco production in the province and decided to conduct a preliminary study in this regard.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister took serious notice of the affairs of tobacco taxation and directed that tobacco export tax should be collected by the provincial government only on export of tobacco out of the province.

He also directed the authorities concerned to take effectives measures for bridging the gap between the provincial government and Pakistan Tobacco Board to ensure smooth regularization of tobacco related affairs.