Traders ask govt to waive taxes on food items, end lockdown
President of All-Pakistan Traders’ Association Ajmal Baloch on Saturday demanded of the government to exempt food items from taxes and end lockdown at once to enable the wheel of economy rolling.
He said that the government’s announcement of launching a crackdown against the hoarders might lead to blackmailing against the traders. “The government should first describe clearly about the definition of the hoarding, or to be more precisely what amounts to hoarding,” Ajmal Baloch said.
He further said that “The government should explain how much stock of an item a storekeeper can have in his shop. In addition, it should also be explained how much stock can be kept at the wholesale depots.”
Baloch also questioned why the government itself had failed to ensure the provision of sufficient stocks at the utility stores. “The government should not put its burden of failure on the traders.”
He said that if the government is serious then it should include the traders in the consultations process in order to evolve a joint strategy.
It is also necessary to make a mechanism to devise government rates for the items of daily use, and “The government should exempt food items from all taxes.”
He further said that the district administration should not force the traders to sell items on the lists prepared three months ago.
The president of the association said “We’ll resist any crackdown if the government launches on the pretext of price control and hoarding,” and said that “It is better to form independent committees to determine and control prices.”
“Instead of point scoring for gaining cheap popularity, the government should form a concrete plan by including the stakeholders.”
He said that the traders are already suffering losses due to the coronavirus, and asked the government not to call them hoarders. “It is the traders who run the wheel of the economy, and we demand the government to issue orders to end the lockdown at once.”