Friday July 19, 2024

Chemists protest against taxes in Mardan

By Muhammad Riaz Mayar
July 09, 2024
A representational image of a person showing a fist during a protest. — Unsplash/File
A representational image of a person showing a fist during a protest. — Unsplash/File

MARDAN: The Pakistan Chemists and Druggists Association, Mardan chapter, sta­ged a protest rally outside the Mardan Press Club against the 2.5 percent advance tax and 18 percent sales tax.

The rally, led by president Sher Ali and general secretary Naeem Anwar, drew a large number of chemists and drug shop owners. The protesters chanted slogans against the government and demanded the withdrawal of the taxes.

Later, addressing a news conference at the Mardan Press Club, Sher Ali described the taxes as “Ghunda tax” (extortion). He said that the prices of medicines had increased by 400 percent since 2018. He accused the government of trying to end their business with the 2.5pc advance tax and criticised the imposition of taxes on life-saving medicines, devices, and drugs for infants and patients with kidney, heart, and diabetes conditions.

“The budget has been prepared on the terms of the IMF,” he said, accusing both the government and the opposition of signing “the death warrants of the citizens”.He argued that instead of imposing taxes on medicines, the government should reduce own expenditure.

Sher Ali criticised the caretaker government’s decision to fix drug prices to benefit commissions and drug factories, alleging that many elected representatives own pharmaceutical companies and have manipulated the pricing procedure, leading to increased medicine costs.He demanded the immediate withdrawal of what he termed as “cruel taxes”.