September 26, 2020

Traders to go on strike in Oct over CNIC based invoicing policy

The government had drafted a policy which made mandatory for the shopkeepers to take a copy of  CNIC of buyer, for every transaction greater than Rs50,000. The traders have been in protest against the policy from the very start and have even organized shutter down strikes to pressurize the government to reverse the policy. However, the government has been steadfast so far and has not reversed the policy, but has delayed its implementation to the end of this month. Chairman FBR Mr. Shabbar Zaidi had previously said that he would not bow down to anyone who is protesting the CNIC based invoicing policy and the government’s efforts to document the economy.

The policy had been drafted after pressure from the FATF who directed the Pakistani authorities to implement the CNIC based invoicing policy to document every transaction above Rs50,000. The policy was designed for curbing terror financing and undocumented transactions.

The traders have said that they would organize a march towards the capital on October 9, if the policy is not revoked. All Pakistan Anjuman-i-Tajiran (APAT) leader Mr. Naeem Mir said that their negotiations have been in a deadlock until yet. He added that the government officials were not ready to even listen to their demands. The government, under the pressure of protests, organized by different trade organizations, had previously delayed the implementation of the policy until the end of September, hoping that they would come to some terms with the trader’s associations, but this did not turn out to be the case.

The last meeting between the two sides took place four days ago but APAT leader Mr. Naeem Mir has said that the meeting was futile and the deadlock still persists. He added that apart from the CNIC based invoicing policy, the traders are also protesting against illegitimate taxation policies and the fixed taxation regime being imposed by the government. He said that the traders are already being issued notices by FBR and the FBR has already started the implementation of CNIC based invoicing policy since September 13. He added that this all shows the irresponsible behavior of the FBR officials who are leaving the traders with no other option but to go on a strike.

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