The three groups of All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran have issued charter of demands and asked the government to constitute one central as well as 14 regional committees to resolve the issues of traders and particularly the issue of withholding tax.

Addressing a press conference at Press Club APAT central general secretary Naeem Mir presented 12-point charter of demand of traders on behalf of all groups of APAT including Naeem Mir Group, Ashraf Bhatti group and Khalid Pervaiz Group.

Naeem Mir reiterated that traders are still ready for talks with the government. Govt should call the real stakeholders for dialogues instead of conducting meetings with representatives of chambers.

If traders are not invited for dialogues to resolve the issue they would have no option but protest demonstrations and shutter down strikes across the country.

He said that the business community of Lahore has agreed on another countrywide shutter-down strike on September 9 against the imposition of 0.3 per cent withholding tax (WHT) on banking transactions. The traders have agreed on one-point agenda of developing consensus on the date of the strike. He said that three factions of APAT have decided not to accept forced collection of WHT on banking transactions.

”According to the new strategy, traders will hold protest on September 2 across the country whereas, on September 4 they would observe boycott of banks and after that they would pull their shutter down across the country on September 9.”

He said that in case of non-acceptance of demands, then again shutter down strike would be observed on October 7.

Discussing other points of charter of demand, he asked the govt to defer WHT on banking ransactions till Dec 31, 2015.

He said that 0.3% WHT on cash withdrawal for filers should be suspended and whole tax collected so far since August 2015 should be refunded to the taxpayers.

He suggested that sales tax act 1999 should be amended and whole ST should be deducted at manufacturing and import level while traders should be exempted from value added tax.

Income tax ord 2001 should be amended and slab and GP systems should be abolished and a simple tax system should be introduced. Turnover tax should not exceed the ratio of 0.25% and new slab system (sector to sector) should be started.

New filers of having capital of 500 million, one home, one shop and one vehicle should be exempted from audit for five years under Accounts Regularization scheme.

Sale tax on power bills be eliminated for commercial consumers. Tax returns date should be enhanced. Govt should give guarantee not to impose wealth tax. KPK should be exempted from income tax for three years due to terrorism.

The regional committees should be made in Lahore, Karachi, Sargodha, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Sukhur, Quetta, Pishawar, Gujranwala, Pindi and Islamabad.

He said that traders have now maintained unity in their ranks, which was the best approach to get the business community’s problems resolved and to send a strong message to the government.