Islamabad(Press Release)The National Assembly Special Committee on the Agricultural Products recommended that the Minimum Indicative Price of Tobacco should be fixed at Rs. 260/kg. The Committee instructed the Pakistan Tobacco Board to ensure that no stock of tobacco is left unsold with the farmers and urgent steps should be taken to ensure that the cigarette manufacturers purchase 1.4 million kg surplus tobacco as per assigned quota under the PTB Marketing Rules. Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser presided the meeting attended by Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Shahram Khan Taraki, Minister for Education, KP and members of the Special Committee on Agricultural Products.
The members of the Committee outlined that the regulations bind tobacco companies to purchase tobacco as per the assigned quota, however, some of the companies have refused to abide by law. The Committee instructed the Pakistan Tobacco Board to issue show cause notices to such companies and initiate cases against them. Speaker National Assembly stressed that exploitation of the farmer will not be tolerated. The Speaker tasked the Sub-Committee of the Special Committee on Agricultural Products headed by MNA Shandana Gulzar Khan to examine the tobacco regulatory framework and after necessary consultation with all the stakeholders, recommend amendments in the legislative and regulatory framework within 15 days.
The members of the Committee underlined the need to move a resolution in the National Assembly against cigarette manufacturers who despite quota allocation did not purchase tobacco form the farmers. The members stressed stringent action against companies who did not ensure purchase of surplus tobacco leading to unsold stock of 1.4 million kg.
The Speaker 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. The Committee maintained that Tobacco farmers, who grow single crop in an year, cannot be left at the mercy of cigarette companies and urged the government agencies to take all possible steps for the legitimate profit of the farmers and timely sale of their crop.