The All Pakistan Oil Tankers Contractors Association (Apotca) has ended its strike against the imposition of sales tax by the provincial government on the oil tankers that supply fuel across the country.
The association went on strike on Friday against the Sindh government's new 5 per cent tax on the transport vehicle in the current budget. The association, along with oil tanker owners, rejected the sales tax, and said that they are already paying a number of taxes to the government and should not be subjected to another one.
Apotca suspended its operations and stopped supplying fuel to oil marketing companies and fuel stations. On Friday evening, when petrol pumps started to run dry, the Karachi commissioner and Sindh governor intervened into the matter and requested the association to call back the strike, after which the fuel supply to the petrol pumps was resumed.
"We have postponed the strike on the governor's assurance that the tax will be rolled back," said Apotca senior vice-president Muhammad Sulaiman Tareen, adding that they are 'service providers, not manufacturers' so there should be no sales tax on them. "The sales tax has been imposed for the first time, and that also only in Sindh, after the 18th constitutional amendment and we are unable to pay the tax because of the deteriorated condition of the transport sector," he said.
Tareen and his association met the Sindh Board of Revenue chairman a couple of times to try and have the sales tax removed but they were unable to reach an agreement. "We were forced to go on strike even though we did not want to put the public at an inconvenience, especially during the month of Ramazan," said Tareen, adding that they have been called for a meeting by the governor on Tuesday to look into the matter. "In case the meeting fails, we will call a general body meeting but will not go on strike again in Ramazan."
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.