KARACHI    -   The economic decisions of the incumbent federal government have taken a toll on the traders and transporters in business hub of the country – Karachi - that witnessed protest against the policies.

The umbrella of different trading organizations - Karachi Traders Action Committee (KTAC) - took out a rally in the city from Regal Chowk in Saddar to Karachi Press Club against the economic policies of the federal government.

They demanded that if controversial and unjust tax system was not withdrawn from the budget 2019-20 within 72 hours then the markets in the city would be closed for indefinite period.

They further threatened to make markets a no-go area for the tax survey teams of the government and would also spread the sphere of their protest to other parts of the country.

Addressing the participants of the rally at KPC, the business community members said that the recently passed federal budget was anti-trade, crushing the traders community in the country.

“The government should immediately begin talks with traders over the controversial parts of taxation system in the budget and introduce more-business friendly tax system in the country,” they said.

The leaders further demanded the federal authorities to take action against the unjust and corrupt practices of the tax authority officials. There is dire need of steps that could pave way for more revenue collection from taxation along with strict action against corrupt tax officials,” they said.

The KTAC leaders further demanded to extend the date of amnesty for three months so that more people could avail it. “A category wise tax from Rs 3000 to 20,000 should be collected from traders,” they said and further demanded of reducing tax on Rs 50,000 bank transaction.

The traders also called for withdrawing condition of receiving NIC from customers. The FBR officials rather than raiding the shops should approach the trade organizations, otherwise we would be forced to make it a no-for area for them, they warned.

The trade organisation members also demanded lowering of electricity, gas and fuel prices along with decrease in tax on purchase of vehicles and housing units.

The traders further criticised the provincial and local government for razing 7,000 shops in the city without giving an alternate to them and called for immediate resolution of the issue.           

Moreover, the transport organization Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) also observed a transport strike in the city over increase of Rs 20 per kilogram on the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

The KTI head Irshad Bokhari said that the government is bent upon causing huge financial losses to the transporters after such a massive increase in the CNG prices. “We demand withdrawal of unnecessary hike in CNG prices as it is affecting our transport business,” he said adding that their strike would continue unless the decision is not withdrawn.

It is pertinent to mention here that around 95 percent of the more than 7000 buses in the metropolis have been switched to CNG from petrol.

The city that is already facing shortage of transport facilities due to lack of provincial and federal government interest in completing their transport projects, witnessed thin transport on roads on Tuesday.

The commuters were forced to use rickshaws and other means of transport that cost them more than the buses. The ride-hailing services have also increased their fares in the city after the provincial government imposed an increased five percent tax on their services.

Muhammad Ali, who travels from Airport area to Saddar said that the government policies had overburdened the end user as the transporters and business community would transfer any hike in taxes and prices to them.

“Without strict control of the government authorities on prices, the people of the country especially the city will continue to suffer due to the federal and provincial government policies,” he said.