PESHAWAR: The traders on Wednesday announced a series of protests from Aug 3 against the recent tax measures and warned that the campaign would continue across the country until the acceptance of demands.

Addressing a news conference at the Peshawar Press club, representatives of different trade unions led by Haji Sharafat Ali Mubarak and Malik Meher Ilahi of the Markazi Tanzeem Tajiran Pakistan said the government had ignored the July 13 strike forcing traders to continue their movement against the imposition of new taxes and other budgetary measures.

“We on behalf of trade bodies announce that Aug 3 will be marked as the protest day across the country,” Mr Mubarak said adding that traders will take out rallies, hold demonstrations and hoist banners to highlight their demands.

The trader leader said the measures adopted by the federal and provincial governments in the 2019-20 budget harmed business.

Ask govt to address their grievances

He warned that traders were fully united to carry out the protest campaign until their genuine demands were met.

Mr Mubarak said the traders regularly paid different kinds of direct and indirect taxes, generating hefty revenue for federal and provincial exchequers but the government didn’t bother to take the business community on board while announcing economic policy.

Rejecting the CNIC-based invoicing system, he said the traders couldn’t ask customers to produce CNIC copies on the purchase of Rs50,000 goods, so the condition should be withdrawn.

The trader leader sought exemption of wholesalers and retailers from sales tax registration. He suggested fixed tax system for retailers and opposed withholding tax on bank transactions. Mr Mubarak said the tax process should be made easy to avoid criminal cases against taxpayers.

He said the ruling PTI had failed to fulfil its election promise of providing relief to the people.

“We are not against tax reforms introduced by the government and Federal Board of Revenue. Even the government doesn’t know about what kind of reforms it wants to introduce,” he said.

The trader leader asked the authorities to hold dialogue with traders to resolve their problems and warned if that didn’t happen, both stakeholders and economy would suffer.

Malik Meher Ilahi said the decision to observe Aug 3 as day of protest had been taken by traders at national level.

He said the business community would fully support the reforms agenda if it was business-friendly.

The trader leader said by using derogatory language against the business community, some ministers would complicate issues.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2019