NA Panel to Overhaul Tobacco Regulatory and Taxation Regime

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The Speaker National Assembly Mr. Asad Qaiser underlined the need for strengthening tobacco regulatory and taxation regime to ensure decent profitability for the farmers as well as progressive increase in government’s revenue from tobacco industry.

He stated that information asymmetries, regulatory capture and inefficient taxation regime has stoked fears about collapse of tobacco market for the poor farmers, exorbitant profits for tobacco industry without commensurate increase in government’s revenue from cigarettes industry, and rampant tobacco consumption in Pakistan.

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 It was also outlined that upward revision of taxes levied on cigarettes was the only route to discourage smoking and raise government’s revenue. He made these remarks in a meeting with the Chairman Pakistan Tobacco Board on Tuesday. 

The Speaker urged the Chairman Pakistan Tobacco Board to personally examine the tobacco purchase process and leave no stone unturned to end farmers’ distress vis-à-vis tobacco marketing. He added that the Special Committee on Agricultural Products desired transparency and fairness in transaction between the farmers and industry to ensure that the farmers fetch decent profitability for their toil.

He also urged the Chairman Pakistan Tobacco Board to expedite the processing of meeting codal formalities for conducting a third party survey to ascertain the cost of production through a transparent mechanism. He instructed that the farmers’ current distress should be addressed on war footing basis and further directed that the report of Governance Inspection Team on tobacco marketing should be furnished to the Special Committee on Agricultural Products.  

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