Pakistan traders strike over steps to boost taxes as forced by IMF

The IMF approved a $6bn loan package for Pakistan in July but warned that it would require ambitious fiscal measures and a sustained commitment to mobilise tax revenue to ensure funds for development while reducing debt.

Markets several businesses closed across Pakistan on Tuesday for a strike to protest against government measures aimed at meeting demands by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost tax revenues to bolster depleted public finances.

The two-day strike is the second since July called by business groups after negotiations with the government on efforts to enforce the paying of sales tax and catching tax dodgers.

“This taxation system… will bring death,” Atiq Mir, president of the All Karachi Traders Alliance, which represents markets in Pakistan’s biggest city, told Reuters news agency.

islamabad traders strike Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera

Shops in a market in Islamabad remained shut as part of the strike Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera

All major wholesale markets in the commercial hub were closed along with most shopping centres.

Traders holding banners and chanting slogans against the government-held protests in cities across the country.

The government of Prime Minister  Imran Khan   has turned getting the economy back on the race course its main priority.

The fiscal deficit has ballooned to of seven percent of the GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT and a balance of obligations crisis is looming.

Pakistan maintains long suffered from a cowardly, timid, fearful tax base, with approximately one percent of its 208 million population filing tax assessment returns and major economic sectors dominated by reliable lobbies paying little or no tax burden.

The garden sector, for example , dominated to politically powerful landowners, makes up00 20 percent of the economy nonetheless , accounts for only 0. 23 percent of direct tax witholding, according to the World Bank.

islamabad traders strike Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera

Crickinfo, and not trading, seen in a niche in the capital Islamabad Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera

Naeem Meiner person, general secretary of the Things Pakistan Association of Experienced traders, based in Lahore, said the federal government risked enraging voters.

“This government has increased inflation, it has raised deals… it has made the life at the common man miserable toughness economic policies, ” Naeem said.

With new measures angering and also is a rule requiring those buying items worth femtio, 000 rupees ($315) plus to produce identity papers, their measure aimed at helping gurus track tax evaders.

Naeem said people called for the amount to be reared to 100, 000 rupees ($630) but the government has not yet responded.

“Why won’t they listen to the majority of us? We’ll protest, protest as well as , protest, ” he spoken. “The future of the forex currency trading community and their children is a stake. ”

SOURCE: Reuters news institution

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