MULTAN: The Central Executive Committee of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has demanded that sales tax and other taxes must be withdrawn for survival of cotton growers so that they could get fair return of their produce. Another impediment in the way of fair-return was withholding tax on the sale of cotton because all these taxes are being paid farmers indirectly.
Presiding over a meeting of CEC of PCGA its chairman Dr. Jassu Mal said that abolishing the withholding tax on cotton sale would help in creating alternate buyers to end the monopoly of the APTMA. He said that cotton control act must implement in letter and spirit besides adhering the crop zoning strategy.
He suggested that there should be open permission to import GMO and non-GMO seeds of cotton like seeds of vegetables, sun-flower, canola, maize, rice, potato and edible oil-bearing crops. CEC demanded equal facilities to cotton ginners as were given to textile industry. PCGA’s CEC also demanded for allocation of funds of Rs.100 billion for the purchase of at least 2 million bales from the farmers at alternate buyer to maintain and stabilise the cotton rates. He suggested that interest-free loan be given to cotton growers besides providing certified, well germinated, heat resistant hybrid seed, cheaper electricity, original pesticides and other inputs, the prohibition of all crops in Core cotton areas strictly implement the Cotton Control Act(CCA).
He further proposed that the Support Price of raw-cotton (Phutti) must be announced immediately to bring maximum area under cotton crop but it should not be less than Rs.5000/- per maund and a high-powered cotton Control Board (CCB) headed by Prime Minister be constituted to resolve the problems of all stakeholders besides achieving the target of 20 million bales of cotton. He demanded the withdrawal of 10 % sales tax, withholding tax on the sale of cotton to attract alternate buyers.
Dr. Jassu Mal said that a revolution can be brought in the cotton economy by spending huge funds equal to foreign exchange wasted on the import of cotton, sugar and wheat. He said that the anti-cotton lobby managed to get reject the summary of support price for Phutti twice.
Now Prime Minister would have to use his influence and veto powers to save the cotton economy. He said “Cotton cultivation [in area] has declined by 35% since 2014-15 because farmers have shifted to sugar cane from cotton because of higher government support prices,” he added, saying bad weather conditions and lack of certified seeds had also contributed to the decline.
“The country had achieved the highest output of 15 million bales in 2014-15 but since then production is on the decline.