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Wednesday Oct 30 2019

Traders call off country-wide strike after successful talks with govt


ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Traders protesting against the government’s harsh taxation measures decided to call off their protest after successful talks with the government on Wednesday .

The traders decided call off the country-wide protests after the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) agreed on eleven points regarding taxation on businesses in the country. 

According to Chairman All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (APAT) Ajmal Baloch the following points were agreed between the government and the traders

1 - The government will not launch any action against traders who are not buying and selling goods on the basis of their CNIC till January 31 of next year.

2 - Traders making a turnover of 100 million will give a turnover tax of 0.5 per cent, rather than the 1.5 per cent currently set by the government.

3 - Any trader making a profit of 100 million will not pay the withholding tax.

4 - Registration for the sales tax will be done if a trader’s yearly electricity bill is more than 1.2 million, rather than the Rs 600,000 currently set by the government.

5 - Turnover tax for low profit making sectors will be determined in consultation with a committee of traders. FBR will address the problems faced by the traders after consulting the committees that will be formed at the regional and central levels.

6 - Problems of the jewelers will be resolved on a priority basis with the help of the Jewelers Association.

7 - Withholding tax imposed on brokers’ license renewal fees will be reviewed.

8 - A special desk will be set up in the FBR’s headquarters in Islamabad to resolve the problems faced by the traders which will be led by a 20 or a 21 grade officer. While, monthly meetings will also be held with the representatives of the traders.

9 - A simple form will be formed for the registration and income tax filing for new traders.

10 - Shops smaller than 1000 square feet will be exempted from sales tax and any decision regarding the issue will be taken in consultation with the traders’ committee.

11 - Any decision regarding the registration of sales tax for retailers, involved in the whole sale business, will be done in consultation with the traders’ committee.

Read also: Traders begin country-wide strike against tax policies

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, speaking after the negotiations, said that the implementation of the agreed points will have a positive impact on the economy.

He also announced that a form in Urdu will be created for the registration and filing of income tax returns.

The country-wide strike by traders continued for a second straight day today after negotiations between the traders and government failed to achieve any breakthrough.

Despite mediatory role played by Jahangir Khan Tareen, the deadlock between the government and traders persisted as the five-hour-long negotiations failed yesterday.

On Tuesday, markets and wholesale merchants across Pakistan observed a strike to protest the IMF-backed taxation measures to document commercial and retail activities in the country.

A complete strike was also observed in the wholesale markets of Lahore while a partial strike was witnessed in other markets.