ISLAMABAD: Tobacco farmers on Monday urged the government to withdraw Rs 390 per kilogram advance tax on the tobacco leaf; otherwise, they would stage a protest in the federal capital.
After the promulgation of the Tax Laws (Second) Amendment Ordinance 2022 on Monday, President Mehnatkash Labour Federation Ibrar Ullah and farmers associations were jointly addressing a press conference at the National Press Club on Monday.
Commenting on the implications of the Ordinance, Ibrar Ullah informed that the price of tobacco per kilogram in the open market was Rs 256 per kilogram while the advance tax on it was Rs 390 per kilogram.
He said the advance tax on the tobacco leaf was hurting the sale of the crop in the market and this would render over 15,000 labourers and 20,000 families of the farmers jobless.
President Kissan Board Rizwan Ullah also rejected imposition of the advance tax on the crop, saying the government was destroying ripe crop of the farmers through such tactics instead of providing them relief.
He said that all farmers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province would stage a sit-in in Islamabad if the advance tax on the crop was not withdrawn.
Liaqat Yousafzai of Kashtkar Coordination Council Khyber Pakhtunkhwa termed the imposition of the advance tax on the tobacco crop as “public enmity.”
He said that rates of tobacco were increasing the world over while they were decreasing in Pakistan. The farmers in Swabi, Mardan, Charsadda, Boner and Mansehra grow the tobacco crop and they have urged the government to facilitate them by withdrawing the advance tax on it.
Other speakers on the occasion said the government was collecting billions of rupees annually in taxes through this crop, but it was not ready to provide relief to the public.
They said the government should facilitate the farmers in sowing and harvesting of the crop as this was contributing billions of rupees in taxes annually.
Naimat Shah Roghani, president of farmers’ rights protection organisation, said that imposition of the advance tax on the tobacco crop was result of a nexus between the government officials and multinational tobacco companies.
He said the tax was aimed at eliminating the local tobacco industry and buy the crop from the farmers on cheaper rates.
All tobacco farmers of the KP province have warned the government of protests in front of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in Islamabad and to block the motorways if it failed to withdraw the advance tax of Rs 390 per kilogram.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022