PA demands rights for KP over tobacco crop

tobacco Opposition and treasury benches in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly said on Tuesday tobacco companies were exploiting growers in league with tobacco board, demanding an end to monopoly of international companies.

In his adjournment motion, Abdul Akbar Khan, parliamentary leader of the Pakistan People’s Party-Parliamentarians (PPPP), said tobacco was the cash crop of farmers of the province and was not produced in other provinces. He said the federal government was receiving Rs 30/40 billon excise duty on tobacco.

The PPPP leader said farmers were at the mercy of international firms as these companies were fixing tobacco rates. Akbar said the province had no control over federal tobacco board. The PPPP parliamentary leader said India, second largest exporter, was exporting tobacco to 18 countries. Akbar said in foreign countries, tobacco boards purchased tobacco first and then supplied it to companies while in our country, tobacco firms bought it first and then provided to the board.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa can earn billions of rupees if the system is streamlined,” he said.

Saqibullah Khan Chamkani of the Awami National Party (ANP) said Pakistani tobacco leaf was the best in the world. Chamkani said international companies that had monopolised tobacco were regulating the Pakistan Tobacco Board. The ANP member demanded an end to monopoly of international companies.

ANP parliamentary leader Bashir Ahmed Bilour said the federal government was making billions of rupees in excise duty on tobacco. Bilour said Swabi, Mardan and Mansehra were major tobacco growing areas.

Minister for Agriculture Arbab Muhammad Ayub Jan said the federal government was collecting Rs 17 billion excise duty on tobacco and 10 percent tax from growers and companies. He proposed another resolution demanding the federal government hand over control of tobacco crop to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as it belonged to the province. The minister said it was necessary to end monopoly of tobacco companies. The House formed a committee to solve tobacco issue.

Malik Qasim Khan, JUI-F, said junior officers were appointed to good and higher posts while seniors were deprived of it. He asked the government to streamline the mechanism for appointment, posting and transfer of government officers.

ANP’s Ateefur Rehman told the House owners were still deprived of possession of plots that they purchased in Regi Model Township in 1989 due to the negligence of the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA).

Senior Minister Bilour said ownership documents had been handed over to owners in various phases of township except two where some owners had also been given possession of plots.

During question-answer hour, many questions lapsed as ministers and members were either absent or late. The speaker warned the ministers to ensure their presence in House as millions of rupees were spent on assembly proceedings and going waste in addition to waste of time.

The speaker adjourned the sitting till Wednesday (today).


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