Lahore

As the traders have announced shutter down strike on first August (Saturday), besides closure of textile industry on Aug 7 by the APTMA, the All Pakistan Business Forum, All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA), Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), All Pakistan Power-looms Association (APA), All Pakistan Sizing Industry Association (APSIA) and Jamat e Islami (JI) have endorsed their stance on unjustified and unwarranted 0.3% WHT on banking transaction, extending their support for a countrywide strike on first as well as on 7th August.

More than 20 major markets have also announced to back the shutter down strike call of All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran on first August against WHT on banking transaction and other heavy taxation measure of the federal government. The representatives of a large number of main wholesale as well as retail markets of Lahore during a visit of APAT central general secretary, Naeem Mir, declared to support All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran to keep their markets shut on Aug 1 in protest of WHT.

All Pakistan Business Forum president, Ibrahim Qureshi, said that though the APBF advocates the broadening of tax net yet all measures should be taken in consultation with the real stakeholders. He said that the government, instead of creating uncertainty, should announce business friendly policies to attract the investment in the country. The government should understand that protests and strikes always hit the economic activities hard in an atmosphere of terrorism. He said that the APBF was with all the trade and industrial associations against this imposition of tax on bank transactions.

Ibrahim Qureshi further said that all business-related decisions should be taken in consultation with the stakeholders as being done in the developed countries. He asked the finance minister to take all trade and industry related decisions in consultation with the business community which is the backbone of the economy.

He also criticized the un-adjustable 8% withholding tax on revenue of service sector, putting the sustainability of this sector at stake in a country where cost of doing business is already very high.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that with the implementation of this law, the government has actually discouraged new start-ups and future investments in the service sector. It is a principle that new businesses are not taxed when they are in their infancy allover world.

“The whole service sector, consisting of information technology, advertising, marketing, event management, telecom and freight forwarding & clearing, which contribute over 53 per cent to the GDP and facilitate economy at large, will be collapsed just in few months, jacking up both the inflation and unemployment rate,” he observed.

Secretary General, Jamaat e Islami, Liaqat Baloch, said that the Federal government’s insistence on the levy of Withholding Tax was bound to ruin the country’s economy and the protest of the traders, industrialists and transporters against it was justified. Talking to a delegation of traders, he counseled the government to withdraw the tyrannical levy on the bank transactions’ forthwith. He warned that that the government move would do incalculable harm to the national economy as the money transactions outside banks could be highly dangerous.

While addressing the Shah Alam market board, Naeem Mir claimed that whole business community, including transporters were united, as several other groups of transporters bodies had also been invited to join hands for the countrywide strike on Aug 1. Naeem Mir said if the withholding tax was imposed despite their reservations it would hamper trade and economic activities and also tarnish the government’s image.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman S M Tanveer said that APTMA members mills from KPK, Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad have unanimously decided to shut their units on seventh Aug in protest against unjust taxation measure over textile industry, rendering it uncompetitive allover the region.

“If heavy taxation is not withdrawn by the finance ministry the industry will extend its strike that would continue for unlimited period till the announcement of withdrawal of taxes on export industry.”

S M Tanveer has said as many as 10 million textile workers would be on roads to protest and record their worries over the viability issues of textile industry.