Twin cities’ traders set to close markets for two days

Updated Oct 28 2019

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Say FBR harassing taxpayers instead of expanding tax net. — Dawn/File
Say FBR harassing taxpayers instead of expanding tax net. — Dawn/File

RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: On the call of All Pakistan Traders Association, the markets and bazaars of Rawalpindi and Islamabad would remain closed for two days on Tuesday (tomorrow) and Wednesday to protest ‘the anti-traders policies’ of the government and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The traders of Rawalpindi city and cantonment announced on Sunday that they would observe complete shutterdown strike for two days in all the bazaars and markets.

Addressing a joint press conference at a local hotel, Rawalpindi Traders Association representatives Shahid Ghafoor Paracha and Sharjeel Mir and Cantonment Traders Association representatives Sheikh Hafeez and Arshad Awan said they would keep all markets and bazaars closed in response to the call of their central association.

They alleged that the government and FBR were targeting the business community and harassing taxpayers instead of expanding the tax net.

Say FBR harassing taxpayers instead of expanding tax net

They said traders played a major role in the economy of any country and all governments gave incentives as well as provided them environment conducive for doing business.

However, they claimed that the present government was creating difficulties for the business community, adding that the FBR should review its policies otherwise the strike could go beyond two days.

The traders’ representatives urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to play his role to resolve their problems.

In Islamabad, the traders urged the government to introduce fixed tax for small traders.

Sarfraz Mughal, vice-chairman of Islamabad United Group, at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in a statement that the economy would face a big loss because of the shutterdown strike.

“It is impossible to accept all the conditions of FBR because of economic crisis in the country. The government should address the issues through negotiations with the traders,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Mughal suggested that a fixed tax should be introduced for the small traders because it would give them a clear picture of how much they would have to pay every year.

“The FBR officials push us to bribe them and pay half of the tax to the government. In case of fixed tax, blackmailing of officials would be stopped,” he claimed.

A trader, Habibullah Zahid, said the Supreme Court had already observed that the 22,000 officials of the tax department were a hurdle to tax collection.

“We demand that the condition of collecting CNICs from those who buy or sell goods worth over Rs50,000 should be withdrawn and a fixed tax imposed,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2019