ISLAMABAD: Tobacco growers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), employees of multinational tobacco companies and KP Labour Federation Unions including KP Kisaan Board, Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organization (SARDO) and Anjuman-e-Tahafuz-e-Mahanatkush staged a protest in front of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Islamabad here on Monday against additional tax of Rs300/kg on tobacco.
KP Labour Federation Unions office bearers including SARDO KP President Haji Abdul Nabi Mehmud, Pakistan Kisaan Board President Rizwanullah, Labor Federation of KP President Ibrarullah, Haji Nematullah Shah and others addressed the protest and stated that tobacco is a major cash crop of KP province and millions of people in the province are associated with the sector which contributes Rs130 billion as tax in national exchequer annually.
They added that tobacco production plays an important role in strengthening the national economy, but anti-Pakistan forces are hatching conspiracies to destroy this sector, to increase unemployment in Pakistan.
“Thousands of cultivators are associated with this tobacco since many decades and 15,000 industrial workers are also associated with tobacco sector in KP,” they said, adding that imposing Rs300/kg tax on tobacco has increased miseries of the cultivators.
Due to such policies, tobacco production in KP has declined to 70 million kg from 140 million kg, while it has intensified monopoly of the multinational companies.
“Such policies on part of FBR and government are tantamount to dismantling national industry and the bureaucracy is taking all these decisions to pave way for foreign companies,” they said.