Under pressure Federal government surrenders before traders demands to end countrywide strike

Under pressure Federal government surrenders before traders demands to end countrywide strike

ISLAMABAD - The government and traders Wednesday reached an agreement, under which the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) delayed the condition of CNIC for sales and purchase of goods till January 31st, 2020, hence putting an end to the shutter-down strike the traders had been observing for second consecutive day on Wednesday.

According to the agreement, the government would not take any disciplinary action against traders who do not buy and selling goods on the basis of their CNIC till January 31 of next year.

It was agreed that the trader having turnover of Rs 100 million would now pay only 0.5 percent turnover tax instead of 1.5 percent whereas for sales tax registration, the limit has been enhanced from the Rs 0.6 million annual electricity bill to Rs 1.2 million.

The agreement read that with the consultation of traders, the government would reassess turnover tax for the low-profit business sectors while the issues of jewelers would be resolved on priority basis with close coordination of the jewelers associations.

According to the agreement, the withholding tax imposed on the licenses renewal fees for brokers would also be reviewed.

For the resolution of traders issues, a special desk would be established at FBR where an officer of Grade 20 or 21 would be appointed who would hold meetings with traders representatives on monthly basis.

The government would also prepare a simple registration and income tax return filing form in Urdu language, it said adding that the trader committees would cooperate with the government in new registrations.

According to the agreement, a shop covering one thousand square feet would be exempted from sales tax registration, and any decision to this effect would be taken in consultation with the traders.

The decision to register the retailers, involved wholesale business, will be taken with consultation of trader committee.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference after reaching the agreement, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Hafeez Sheikh said that in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister, Imran Khan, the government wanted to facilitate traders and promote business activities in the country.

The advisor was accompanied by Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Shabbar Zaidi and representative of traders, Khawaja Muhammad Shafeek.

He said that facilitating and involving traders in economic activities was imperative for achieving the economic goals and promoting growth and development.

He said that the government wanted to impose due taxes and eradicate corruption and this ultimately would be beneficial for traders themselves. He said that taxes were being imposed to support downtrodden segments of the society.

He lamented that there were around 4 million traders but only 0.393 million were paying taxes, adding that bringing the tax evaders into tax net was a priority of the government.

Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, Business leader, Khawaja Shafeek while thanking the government said that the traders were willing to pay taxes, however they faced some issues which needed to be resolved.

Later in the evening, Hafeez Shaikh in a tweet termed the agreement between the government and traders as a good news for economy.