Leaders of the farmers and industrial labour organizations KP held a press conference here at Peshawar Press Club to record discontentment over the imposition of Rs 300/- per kg tobacco tax and to protest against suspension of the labour workers from Philip Morris Tobacco Company.
The conference was attended by Ibrar Ullah – President, Labour Federation KP, Abdul Samad – President, Kisan Board Pakistan, Haji Abdul Nabi Momand – President SARDO and other senior officials.
Besides calling the implementation of tobacco tax a cruel act for the farmers of KP, the labour leaders said that the multinational companies through press conference are interfering in state affairs by the implementation of tobacco tax.
“Multinational companies through useless press conferences want to cause a financial massacre to farmers. On June 19, the management of Phillip Morris Pakistan (PMP) conducted a press conference in front of the people that had nothing to do with the agriculture and labour unions of agriculture, lamenting that tobacco and industrial labours arrived on the spot”.
Earlier, industrial labours and farmers declared in front of National Press Club, Islamabad that they were not invited for the press conference held by PMP and are not at all aware about its happening.
The officials maintained that due to the ill policies of PMP and PTC, hundreds of workers have so far been unemployed. The companies are further to directly affect 1,130,000 farmers and more than 15,000 industrial labour.
The officials said that the Muhammad Hammad Azhar, State Minister for Revenue, in a meeting held at FBR office on May 29, promised with them that no such tax would be implemented. However, the situation is exactly the opposite.
The officials said that this imposition will directly affect the livelihood of more than a million of farmers and of thousands of industrial labour.
They said that multinational companies provide seeds, fertilizers and specialized wood over the high-interest rate to them which is used in the ripening of tobacco. The multinational companies at the time of purchase of tobacco mishandle and abruptly cut the loan which is unjustifiable.
“We are highly dependent on tobacco. We pay taxes to the government while the multinational companies directly bribe the bureaucrats for their interests. We are all set to end this practice”, they said.
“Due to inappropriate policies of multinational companies, Pakistan has suffered financially and has lost Rs 294 million along with the unemployment of technical workers. The yearly production of tobacco has been reduced to 70 million/ Kg from 140 million/ kg in the last four years. The national industrialists are being replaced by international industrialists and bureaucracy is involved in the process”, they blamed.