LAHORE - All the trade and industrial associations of the Punjab have joined their hands against the Reformed GST, expressing determination that they would hold a strike on Dec 6 not only in the city but also in the whole province of Punjab to resist the new levy on all inputs of exports and its operational systems. The trade and industrial bodies at a meeting held at the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association office said that the new system will not only increase the cost of doing business but will also bring with it a strong wave of inflation at gross level. The trade and industrial bodies present in the press briefing included Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, All Pakistan Bedsheets and Upholstery Manufacturers Association, Pakistan Canvas and Tents Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Pakistan Knitwear and Sweaters Exporters Association, Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan, Pakistan Apparel Forum, Pakistan Cotton Forum, Cotton Ginners Association, Ferozepur Road Industries Association, Pakistan Carpets Exporters Association and All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association On this occasion, Ch Salamat Ali, Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association, said that Rs 400 billion of exporters and vendors will be blocked for a period of 6 to 9 months and its refund will not only be a cumbersome exercise but also open new doors of corruption. He said already depressed industry which is fighting the battle of its survival, is not in a position to absorb any more burden of taxes. Export sectors and the wide spread chain of vendors and processors associated with exporters will be the worst hit sectors. So the Lahore Chamber and all the associations stand at one place and stance on their demand that tax invoices of all supplies and services to exporters should remain at zero rate; they demanded. So far as loadshedding of gas is concerned, Naveed Qamar had promised that it will be uniformed across the country but practically it is going discriminately against the industry situated in upcountry areas. This situation is creating disparity among different areas of the country and the exporters in Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Multan etc. are remaining unable to meet their export commitments. Their export orders are either cancelled or they have to airlift their shipments delayed due to production lag owing to gas load shedding. If these two problems are not addressed, the whole industry will have no option but to close the factories. All the trade bodies present in the meeting decided to go for strong protest against the discrimination in gas supply arrangements for Punjab. QAUMI TAJIR ITTEHAD: Qaumi Tajir Ittehad President Khawaja Azhar Gulshan has said the traders will resist the RGST at any cost, urging the government to widen its tax net to the feudal class and landlords, who possessed hundreds of thousands of acres where peasants work day and night and get no salary. He said that traders observed the historical shutterdown strike for 23 days in the regime of army dictator Pervez Musharraf against documentation of taxation. He was talking to the media at Press Club here on Thursday. He said majority of the traders are not educated and for the purpose of documentation the have to hire accountants, as they are already in losses how they can afford the salaries of another permanent staff. He said the traders are not sales tax rather they are opposing the documentation of it. He said that few traders who are well established businessmen can afford this but majority will suffer due to the implementation of RGST. He said 50 percent people are paying taxes while other 50 percent are not paying so the remaining 50 percent should be brought in tax net. He said that Rs 800 billion corruption is being made annually in the tax collection system. There is high time to check it, he pointed out. He told the media that as many as 2700,000 people are paying tax and out of them 1700,000 are salaried persons. He said that the new taxation measures would also be putting extra pressures on already taxed people. He said that instead of widening the tax net and bringing the untaxed sectors into tax net, the government had taken the other way of squeezing those who were already in the tax net and paying all government dues regularly. CARPET MANUFACTURERS: The carpet manufacturers have announced their full support for December 6 strike call given by the leading chambers and trade bodies in Punjab. The support was announced by a delegation of carpet manufacturers, headed by Sohail Shamsher Ali, while talking to LCCI President Shahzad Ali Malik here on Thursday. The other members of the delegation included LCCI former President Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Khwaja Azhar Iftikhar, Maqsoodul Hassan Butt and Zahid Butt. While expressing their serious reservations on RGST, the carpet have manufacturers termed the RGST Bill as anti-people, anti-business and anti-investment bill that will have damaging repercussions, opening the doors of corruption if implemented in isolation without consulting the business community. The delegation urged the govt to withdraw the bill.