LAHORE - The imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) proposed in the budget for the fiscal year 2010-11 is going to put the govt into hot water as various political parties, all trade bodies and chambers of commerce and industry in the country have unanimously rejected this new tax. Sources revealed that the opposition political parties including the largest PML-N are flexing their mussels to strongly oppose the VAT, being introduced in the country on the pressure of International Monetary Fund. The political parties and trade leaders are planning to launch countrywide protest movement if the government implemented the new levy as pledged with the IMF by the financial wizards of the ruling party. Economic experts believe that the replacement of general sales tax (GST) with value added tax (VAT) on July 1, 2010, would increase the prices of over 122 major categories of items including food by at least 15 per cent. According to reports, about 22 categories in the food group and agriculture, currently exempted from general sales tax, would also be brought under the tax net through 15 per cent VAT. Economic pundits also say that prices of essential commodities would further shoot up after the withdrawal or reduction of subsidies and new taxation measures particularly VAT will put additional burden on the already-inflation-hit masses. They also disclosed that at present the government had not the required infrastructure in order to impose and collect the VAT. The traders, manufacturers and small and medium entrepreneurs across the country have strongly rejected the imposition of VAT and said that it would badly hit the industry, agriculture and production sector besides multiplying the miseries of the public in this era of high-inflation. Sources revealed that all the opposition political and religious parties including PML-N have assured full support to the business community against the VAT. The situation will be explosive for the government and the decision would lead to develop further political uncertainty in the country as traders and political parties would give very tough time to the rulers in case the VAT is imposed, a senior politician commented, requesting his name not be mentioned. The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan Trades Association Front (PIAF), Pakistan Poultry Association, manufacturers and all the entrepreneurs are united on one point agenda that they would not accept VAT. They said that there are a number of points in the VAT law that needed to be amended and in the existing shape it is bound to open floodgates of corruption besides discouraging any new investment. They said that any haste in the enforcement of VAT Act would prove to be counterproductive to the trade and industry due to its harsh and irritant measures.