All major markets in Karachi closed as traders observe shutter down strike

KARACHI: Traders in Karachi observed a token shutter-down strike on Saturday against excessive taxation and harsh regulatory conditions, as all the major markets remained closed. This coincides with the strikes being observed by various federal level trade associations.

Atiq Mir, President All Karachi Tajir Ittehad, said all the major markets in the city were closed in protest against high taxes and certain regulatory conditions, such as provision of CNIC copy on transactions of Rs50,000 and above.

“It is a coincidence that traders association across country observed strike this day (Saturday). All the markets that are affected with the new taxation regime are supporting this strike.”

He said All Karachi Tajir Action Committee, Timber Merchants Association, Karachi Electronic Dealers Association, All Karachi Tajir Ittehad, Jodia Nazar Market Association, Sarafa Market Association and many other traders’ bodies were observing strike.

“This is a one-day token strike and we are hoping that PM Imran Khan would consider the situation and take measures accordingly. We are also expecting a meeting with the PM next week.”

The traders are protesting against the 17 percent Sales Tax in VAT mode, higher turnover tax, provision of CNIC copy on transactions of Rs50,000 and above and several other taxes.

Traders are of the view that additional taxes had increased prices adversely impacting their sales and business.

Rizwan Irfan, President Karachi Electronics Dealers Association, said all the electronics markets in Karachi were closed. “There was a difference of opinion among some member of of Tajir Action Committee, but now we have closed our markets on the call of the Committee.”

Farid Qureshi, Secretary General Karachi Retailers and Grocers Association, said most of the markets were closed, however some retailers, food centers and commercial areas in certain localities were open.

Karachi Motor Dealers Association, however, distanced itself from the strike call of Tajir Action Committee. “Governor Sindh assured us of dialogues with the concerned ministers and redressal of genuine grievances, after which we distanced ourselves with the strike and automobile markets are open across the city,” H.M Shahzad, Chairman Motor Dealers Association said.

Tajir Action Committee has demanded of the government to do away with the value added tax; restore income tax exemption upto sale of Rs1.2 million, and reduce turnover tax from 0.6 percent to 0.3 percent.

The Action Committee has also demanded to restore income tax exemption for up to Rs1.2 million annual salary income, and abolish the condition of taking CNIC’s copy from customers of over Rs50,000.

Karachi Tajir Action committee has also demanded of the government to introduce fixed tax regime for traders with four different slabs and asked the revenue body to stop harassing traders in the name of audit.

The traders unit demanded to abolish the new taxation regime for mobile phones and proposed Rs400/piece tax. They also demanded to withdraw regulatory duty at the rate of 10 percent on import of used and second hand cloth.

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