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ISLAMABAD: Farmers associations and tobacco growers announced on Wednesday that a tax policy measure of withdrawal of advance tax on the tobacco crop in budget (2020-21) has resulted in a major jump in Pakistan's tobacco exports to $2.171 million during first month of current fiscal year against $0.914 million during the same period in the corresponding year.

Addressing a press conference here at the National Press Club, tobacco farmers and labourers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa thanked Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser for helping them withdraw Rs500 per kilogram advance tax on the crop which has now resulted in 137.53 percent increase in its exports during the first month of the ongoing fiscal year.

Tobacco farmers shared with the media that the Speaker National Assembly was informed about their problems including the advance tax on tobacco leaf which was hurting the farmers as well as industry. The Speaker had taken up the issue of the advance tax with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on demand of the growers before the budget. The Speaker helped the farmers get the advance tax of Rs500 per kilogram on the crop abolished to help the farmers, industry and labourers.

The farmers said that they have fulfilled their promise by helping the country increase the tobacco exports while thanking the Speaker Asad Qaiser for timely intervention to get the advance tax withdrawn.

They said that Pakistan was producing quality tobacco crop and there was a huge potential for its exports, hoping that the country could earn a sizable foreign exchange through it with more job opportunities for youth in the sector.

The farmers also urged the multinational tobacco companies to restore all the unemployed workers as they had purchased the produce in large quantity this year.

The Speaker is also chairing a National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products to formulate viable policies to boost the agriculture sector and boost income of the growers.

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data shows that tobacco exports from the country were recorded at US $2.171 million during July 2020 against the exports of $0.914 million during July 2019, showing growth of 137.53 percent.

In terms of quantity, the exports of tobacco also increased by 151.87 percent by going up from 268 metric tons to 675 metric tons, according to the PBS data.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020