Ex-FATA industrialists protest taxes

Warn that they will shut down their units until govt withdraws FED

Abuzar Afridi July 13, 2019

LANDI KOTAL: Industrialists in the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata) staged a protest in the Bara industrial zone to protest the extension of taxes to the seven newly-merged districts.

The protest, led by the All FATA Industrial Association (AFATAIA), saw scores of industry owners, workers and all political leadership of various political parties from the newly-merged districts participate.

They held up placards and banners opposing the extension of taxes to the newly-merged districts and demanded that the government withdraw the federal excise duty.

While addressing the gathering, the AFATAIA President Muhammad Aslam said that they had been assured by the central and the provincial governments that if the merger takes place, no federal duties and taxes will be imposed on industries in the tribal districts.

“We are the industry which has suffered the most, for the last 15 years due to militancy,” Aslam said, adding that owing to the militancy and subsequent military operation, they were forced to limit their commercial activities.

“Now we are being squeezed through various taxes,” he complained.

If the [taxation] practice continues, we will be forced to close all businesses in the newly-merged tribal districts after consultations,” Aslam added. He further said that they have helped provide jobs and safe working environments to scores of residents of the tribal areas. Moreover, he said that they were paying taxes to the government under different forms.

“But we will never accept taxes imposed in such a brazen manner, as we were promised by the state that we will be exempted for five years,” he argued. Various political leaders participating in the protest also criticised the government’s decision of extending federal excise duties to the newly-merged areas and termed it as the death of commercial activities.

They demanded that the federal government reconsider its decision of extending the federal excise duty to the merged districts. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2019.


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