• May 23, 2024

Agitation threat in Pakistan

 Agitation threat in Pakistan

A tobacco-grower representative has asked the Pakistan government to provide incentives and lower taxes in respect of tobacco production, according to a story by Muhammad Riaz Mayar for The News.
Niamatullah Shah Roghani, vice-president of Anjuman-e-Kashtkaran Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was quoted as saying that tobacco contributed to the federal exchequer more than Rs114 billion a year in sales tax and federal excise duty (FED).
However, he said that while tobacco growing could provide a good income, tax increases had made it almost impossible for poor farmers to continue with tobacco cultivation.
Niamatullah added that the government had imposed FED of Rs10.00, an advance withholding tax of Rs8.80, a federal government cess of Rs3.67, and a provincial excise cess of Rs5.00 on each kg of leaf tobacco.
All these taxes were deducted by tobacco companies from the prices paid to growers.
“This was the reason that in 2017 there was no competition in the market and tobacco prices were even below the production cost,” he said.
“The government allowed the companies to bring down prices of cigarettes and this was reason the farmers didn’t get a good price which resulted in billions of rupees loss to them, besides reduction in price of third slab’s cigarettes,” he added.
Niamatullah demanded that the five percent advance withholding tax, the FED on tobacco leaf of Rs10.00 per kg and the federal government cess of Rs3.67 per kg on leaf tobacco be included in the federal excise duty on cigarette production.
He said that tobacco farmers in Swabi, Mardan, Charsadda, Nowshera, Buner, Swat and Mansehra had been suffering due to the apathy of the government.
Either the government met their demands, he added, or else they would start agitation all over the province.