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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Special Committee on Agriculture Wednesday grilled Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB), a subsidiary of Ministry of National Food Security and Research, for failing to play its due role to safeguard the interests of growers.

The committee which met with Shandana Gulzar Khan MNA in the chair discussed different issues related to PTB. Some parliamentarians from KP are key stakeholders of tobacco production and cigarette manufacturing.

The representatives of tobacco growers informed the committee that this year 64 million tons of tobacco had to be purchased from growers but the government announced purchase of only 55 million tons, of which 51 million tons has been purchased so far.

The committee was further informed that a long queue of tobacco growers can be witnessed at Tobacco Centres. Tobacco growers argued that their cost of production is higher but the officials are not ready to accept it.

Surplus tobacco stock: PTB asked to ensure purchase from growers at govt rates

They also complained that PTB has not reviewed its tobacco procurement quota in accordance with ground realities.

The officials of PTB informed the committee that the organisation has proposed third party survey of cost of production of tobacco. He said, it has been proposed that this task should be assigned to Agriculture Institute Islamabad.

The official further contended that production cost of tobacco can be less or higher in the survey to be conducted by the third party.

The representatives of tobacco growers argued that laws relating to tobacco have not been changed since 1968, suggesting that laws should be revamped in accordance with the current situation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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