Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

Markets closed in Karachi

31 October 2019

Pakistan government surrenders to the traders

Signs an 11 points agreement; traders withdraw the strike

PR Daily Brief | Nidhi Dalal

For immediate release

31 October 2019

Traders across Pakistan have called off a nation-wide strike that took place during 29-30 October. A group of five associations called for a strike against government attempts aimed at widening the tax net and policies ensuring tax payment by traders. 

Traders’ association from Lahore, Quetta and Karachi closed down all markets for two days. The first round of talks between the traders and the Federal Board of Revenue failed with the latter citing stringent conditions applied by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The traders protest that the IMF conditions have been detrimental to small businesses and traders and policies such as collecting additional duties and taxes on imports are anti-trader policies. 

According to Dawn, the traders collectively oppose the “taxes on imports, the CNIC condition on transaction of Rs 50,000 or above on locally produced items, sales tax registration, turnover tax, fixed tax, etc.”

The strike was called off after the traders’ association reached an eleven-point agreement with the government on 30 October.  The government, for the time being, has caved into the traders' demands and has agreed to relook at its policies. The government will continue the CNIC condition but has deferred the implementation until January 2020. However, concessions in the form of sales tax registration will mainly leave the condition ineffective.

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