PESHAWAR: The business community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday rejected the federal budget for the financial year 2019-20 and said it would further increase inflation because of imposition of additional taxes.
Speaking at a news conference following presentation of the budget, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Faiz Mohammad Faizi said the budget would further bring down foreign investment and hit the poor segments of the society badly due to imposition of a number of additional taxes.
He said the proposed increase of tax on sugar from six to 17 per cent, federal excise duty on oil/ghee, as well as 17 per cent tax on bakeries/confectionery items would directly affect the poor. He said no measures were suggested for development of Small and Medium Enterprises in the budget.
Similarly, Mr Faizi said no reduction was proposed in non-development budget.
He said the SCCI had submitted proposals to the government but these were not incorporated in the federal budget.
The SCCI chief said KP was completely ignored in the fiscal budget, adding there was nothing good in the budget as the imposition of additional taxes would further worsen the situation.
On the occasion, Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, leader of United Business Group, said the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had voted Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to power, but in return it gave nothing to them in the budget. He said the prices of sugar, cooking oil/ghee, flour and other essential commodities would further rise which would directly hit the poor.
Mr Bilour alleged that the new taxes were proposed at the behest of IMF. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had asserted that he would prefer suicide to seeking financial assistance from the IMF, but now the government was jubilant over its agreement for loan with the money-lending institution.
Zahid Shinwari, the SCCI former president, said additional taxes were proposed in the budget allegedly as per agreement with IMF. He said the economic growth would remain stagnant after imposition of new taxes.
He maintained that the proposed new taxes would reduce budget deficit, but the indirect taxation would bring a tsunami of price-hike in the country that would affect the common people.
Riaz Arshad, another senior businessman, said economic prosperity and development was impossible until stability was brought in taxes and economy. He said the people, especially the business community, could not expect any good from the PTI government.
Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2019