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Sunday December 04, 2022

PM Shahbaz Sharif announces end to fixed tax for traders

PM Shahbaz Sharif addresses nation while on a trip to Qatar

By Web Desk
August 23, 2022
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. — AFP/File
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. — AFP/File

DOHA: During his visit to Qatar, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday announced a relief package for the Pakistani public and traders.

While addressing the nation from Doha, the PM talked about the government's measures to reduce the inflationary burden on the public, particularly small traders.

The prime minister announced the abolition of a fixed tax on traders. A fixed monthly tax of varying amounts on retailers was proposed by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail recently in a bid to bring them into the tax net as well as shore up much-needed reserves.

Earlier this month, Ismail said the government was withdrawing the proposal.

"We have removed fixed tax on traders, as we cannot put them through difficulty," Shehbaz said in Doha, adding that the government is trying to control inflation by "working day and night".

"We have not been very successful in controlling inflation, but we are trying," he conceded, emphasising that the coalition government's efforts had averted default.

“The country had almost reached bankruptcy due to the previous government’s terrible performance,” he said, criticising the PTI regime.

"The fixed tax on traders was imposed against our will," the PM said, adding that a committee has been formed to review the imposition of fixed taxes.

The PM shared that ending the fixed tax would widen the tax gap by Rs42 billion, but the government would fill it through other means instead of shifting the burden on traders.

PM Shehbaz said that if the government purchases expensive oil for higher rates, it then gets adjusted in consumers' upcoming bills.

"Fuel adjustments increased in July and August, but 17.1 million consumers have been exempted from paying the charges," the prime minister said, adding that his administration had been working on fuel adjustment for the past few days.

The PM also announced a fuel adjustment charges exemption for agricultural consumers who use tube wells.

"We are analysing the imposition of fuel adjustment on 13 million major [electricity] consumers," he said, adding that the process of fuel adjustment charges will be explained by the Federal Minister for Energy Khurram Dastgir Khan tomorrow.

“We need to move ahead with steadfastness and courage,” the prime minister said, adding that the nation will have to work hard and with sincerity.

“I know in my heart that good days will come,” he said, saying there was no good in crying over the past.

Earlier, while taking to Twitter, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb shared that the PM will be announcing relief for the public and traders during his televised addressed.