ISLAMABAD: Tobacco growers and industrial workers condemned Rs300 tax levy imposed on farmers by the government for the fiscal year 2019-20. Growers from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and tobacco industrial workers, in a press briefing on Monday, urged the government to fulfil its promise of eliminating Rs300 tax on growers of tobacco and impose the levy on multinational tobacco companies instead. Representatives from Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organisation (Sardo), Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) and Workers Federation pointed out that the government had committed to impose tax on cigarettes but instead, it was imposed on tobacco growers. Sardo Provincial President Haji Abdul Ghani stated that the government had imposed Rs300 per kg tax on tobacco growers which would result in severe financial burden on the growers and labourers. “The decision will affect 1.134 million tobacco growers and 15,000 industrial workers only in K-P,” he said. Multinational tobacco companies provide loan to growers for the raw material on 36% interest rate and compels farmers to sell tobacco to the companies on a lower rate, he alleged.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2019.