“Only reliable research data can help better policy making especially when it comes to revenue generation and any misleading facts can hamper government efforts to bring better tax policies,” noted the leading global research organisation, Nielsen, on Saturday.Neilsen’s Retail Audit Services Director Asad explained during a briefing held in Islamabad that the company was present in over 100 countries and employed more than 35,000 people globally. Nielsen was said to have been present in Pakistan for more than 25 years and proudly provided research data to local, multinational, public sector and social sector organisations.He provided a detailed review of the audience regarding the methodology of Nielsen’s Retail Audit Services. Giving a detailed presentation about the tobacco survey, Asad asserted that the tobacco sector was also amongst the 80 product categories, for which they conducted audits every day.Their research findings highlighted that two multinationals cigarette manufacturers had a 67 per cent market share whereas the local cigarette manufacturers had a 33 per cent market share, he added. Asad further told that the local cigarette manufacturers had a stronghold in the rural parts of the country with their highest share of over 50 per cent in South Punjab.He added that 86 per cent of the brands produced by the local cigarette manufacturers were being sold below the minimum selling price mandated by the Government of Pakistan, that is Rs 47.39/pack. 77 per cent of their brands were sold below the minimum applicable tax of Rs 33/ pack of 20 cigarettes.Neilsen’s Chief Executive Officer Qurat ul Ain also briefed media sources about the creditability of their research data. The company ensured high-quality output through multiple quality checks at each point of research and digitisation had ensured minimal human interference, due to which the research results were untampered and pure, she claimed.She mentioned that they conducted audit surveys in the market on a daily basis for over 80 product categories.Neilsen CEO added that when research and figures were released by reputed multinational research companies like Neilsen, there remained little to no doubt as these companies did not disappear after doing a single project.Instead, they were said to be concerned about their reputation and long term sustainability, hence, they would always conduct research transparently; giving pure and unadulterated results.Recently, he claimed that organisations had conducted multiple types of research, which misquoted the statistics and figures about tobacco.Yet, such data releases were usually circulated in media in order to pressurize the government to take steps that may harm the economy of a country, he continued.In many cases, research companies reportedly had neither established offices in the country nor had any adequate research methodology to support their claims.During the two-tier tax system, the government had suffered a loss of over Rs 30 billion in one year from 2014-15 to 2016-17. With the introduction of third-tier, the revenue had bounced back to Rs 89 billion in 2017-18 from Rs 74 billion in 2016 – 17, he added.According to FBR sources, the government was expected to generate taxes to the tune of Rs 116.5 billion from the tobacco industry in the ongoing fiscal year. Out of which, two multinational tobacco companies were said to pay Rs 115 billion while tax collected from the local tobacco companies would cross mere Rs 1.5 billion.