September 29, 2020

Traders Protest New Taxation Policies

Traders around the country are protesting against the new taxation policies, introduced by the government. They said that the increase in taxes and documentation of all business activities is unacceptable.

The Karachi Traders Action Committee (KTAC) held a rally to protest the new taxation policies and demanded them (policies) to be revoked. They threatened a shutter down strike if their demands are not met within 72 hours.

Furthermore, the Markazi Tanzeem Tajiran Pakistan (MTTP) presented a charter of 33 demands to the government. They also demanded that the deadline of the amnesty scheme should be extended by 3 months and a fixed taxation system should be introduced.

Traders further demanded that the condition of acquiring CNICs of all bulk buyers should be removed and requested the FBR to hold talks with them (traders) instead of raiding their businesses.

Traders said that the condition of paying 3% more tax on sales made to non-filers is unacceptable. According to the recently passed Financial Bill 2019-20, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and importers have to write the CNIC number of their customers on every payment made by check, that exceeds PKR 50,000.

The MTTP said that they would not accept the retailers becoming their tax withholding agents. According to the new FBR policies, retailers whose sales exceed PKR 10 million, automatically become withholding agents of the government and will have to deduct 4.5% tax of their suppliers and they would also have to submit tax returns after every 6 months.

President Karachi Electronic Dealers Association (KEDA), Muhammad Rizwan Irfan said that “Traders are already paying taxes and are ready to pay more. The government is trying to create an impression that traders are cheaters which is totally wrong.”

The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiraan (APAT), has also called an association meeting on July 5, 2019. APAT Chief Naeem Mir said that “In that important gathering we will decide the future course of action against the imposition of huge taxes.”

Businesspersons from Sialkot have also decided to protest the 17% GST and have announced that a “No Export day” would be planned soon.

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Almas Hyder said that “Withdrawal of the zero-rated regime will badly hit our exports, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and widen the trade deficit at the cost of ballooning current account gap.”

On July 1, 2019, the cement distributors of Pakistan also went on strike and refused to dispatch cements before their demands of reduced taxes are not met. They said that they would not accept the illiterate retailers becoming their (distributor’s) tax-withholding agents.

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