'It's like killing someone dead': Automakers call for tax cuts on vehicles 1400cc and above

By
Our Correspondent

— Reuters
— Reuters
  • Govt increased sales tax to 25% to meet IMF targets. 
  • PAMA calls decision unfair and counterproductive. 
  • Says it would further reduce demand for locally made cars.


KARACHI: Pakistan auto manufacturers have urged the government to scrap its decision to increase sales tax on larger vehicles — 1400cc and above — lamenting it would hurt the industry which is already suffering, The News reported Saturday. 

Earlier this week, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved the increase in sales tax to 25% from 17% as a part of a revenue-raising measure to meet the fiscal targets set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Following this decision, the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) said that the move was unfair and counterproductive, as it would only affect the domestic car makers and not the importers of used cars, who enjoy lower taxes and have captured a large share of the market.

In a letter to the Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar, the association's director general, Abdul Waheed Khan, said the tax hike would further reduce the demand for locally made cars, which have already seen a sharp decline in production and sales due to inflation and low demand.

“It is like killing someone dead,” he said. 

The letter enclosed a five-year comparative chart of production and sales of automobiles produced in the country that showed a continued decline in production and sales. 

“The automobiles are demand elastic items whose sales would further go down with an increase in the prices; hence the increase in the sales tax would be counterproductive,” he said in his letter.

The taxes on locally produced cars have further increased while the taxes on the import of used cars have remained unchanged, thus making a case of negative protection to locally made cars. Thus, the used cars have managed to fill the market vacated by locally produced cars. Previously, the market share of used cars was around 10%, which has gone up now to 30%. 

“This causes a loss of foreign exchange and loss of legitimate revenue to the government. We are very surprised to note that this measure will additionally generate revenue of Rs4 billion, which is highly unlikely,” the director general added. 

“We are apprehensive that the measure would eventually result in a drop in the volumes with a consequent drop in the revenues. The measure in question would only be hurting the economy, enhancing negative sentiments for consumers and losing investor confidence in investment in Pakistan.” 

The PAMA requested the minister not to further burden the local industry with an increase in the rate of sales tax to 25%. “This proposal to increase the rate was earlier turned down when it was discussed with industry representatives; OEMs and vendors,” Khan added.