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ISLAMABAD: The tobacco growers on Thursday requested the Ministry of Finance to amend the Sales Tax Act and the Federal Excise Act through the Finance Bill 2020, for abolition of advance tax on tobacco leaves and administer/monitor the tobacco companies to ensure improved financial benefit to the farmers.

Addressing a press conference at the National Press Club held here on Thursday, the representatives of various unions of tobacco farmers and industry labour pleaded their case before the budget makers.

The unions included Mehnat Kash Labour Federation, Kissan Board Pakistan, Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organisation, the Pakistan Tobacco Growers Association, Anjuman Tahaffuz Huqooq Kashtkaraan, and Kashtkaar Coordination Council Dealers Association.

Speakers said that over the request of farmer unions, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser formed an agriculture committee under the supervision of Shandana Gulzar.

The farmers' association presented their demands to the committee, which included removal of Rs500 advance tax on the tobacco leaves.

They said that the tobacco companies should be notified that the farmers should get a better return for their tobacco production.

They demanded tobacco companies should derive easy policy for the purchase of tobacco, tobacco which is a cash crop should prosper, tobacco companies should open new purchase centres to purchase tobacco from the farmers, tobacco companies should place technical workers in tobacco growing areas to facilitate farmers, and factory workers should be given due rights.

Speaker NA Asad Qaiser considered the demands and hosted a meeting with the representatives of tobacco farmers and industry labour in which representatives of the FBR, the industry, and tobacco board were also present.

It was decided that no additional tax will be imposed on dry tobacco leaf and the issues related to farmers will be addressed on a priority basis.

He assured the farmers that no additional tax would be imposed on the purchase of tobacco. The tax would be imposed on the cigarette pack.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020