Wholesale markets in Lahore remained closed on Tuesday as traders observed a strike to protest the recently imposed 0.6 per cent adjustable advance income tax on bank transactions.
Shah Alam Market, Akbari Mandi, Moti Bazaar, Rang Mehal, Azam Market, Badami Bagh, Abid Market, Bilal Ganj and the markets on Brandreth and Jail Roads were closed. The markets that were shut down partially included Liberty, Township, Wapda Town and Defence.
Some traders staged a protest demonstration at Abid Market calling the tax exorbitant and unjustified. They said the government wanted to bring non-filers into the tax net.
All Pakistan Anjuman-i-Tajran president Khalid Pervaiz said traders had rejected the tax. He appealed to government to immediately withdraw it. “If enforced, the tax will compel businessmen to make more monetary transactions in cash; thus promoting the undocumented economy,” he said.
Pervaiz said the industry had already suffered due to energy crisis. The tax on banking transactions would create more problems for traders, Pervaiz said.
“This is the month to make money but we have been forced to protest in the streets. The government should order relief for us.” Pervaiz said. He said some government officials had requested the traders to postpone the protest until after Eid. The traders had not agreed to this, he said. “Traders are not willing to accept daily tax deductions,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2015.