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Retail sector seeks relaxation on Eid shopping

Business

May 5, 2021

LAHORE: Organised retailers have urged the federal government to allow Eid shopping till May 12 to avert a financial crunch, keep safe from overcrowding, retain thousands of much needed jobs, and also generate Rs40-Rs50 billion in tax revenues.

Chainstore Association of Pakistan (CAP) on Tuesday stated that extending Eid shopping would enable the retail sector to contribute around Rs40 to Rs50 billion taxes to the national kitty in tune of income, sales and other taxes. Federal government has already announced the “Stay Home-Stay Safe” restrictions, including longest ever Eid holidays starting from May 8 to break the ongoing third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CAP Chairman Tariq Mehboob said that at a time when GDP growth was a priority of the government, every opportunity to conduct business should be availed. Shortened hours and days have already resulted in massive congestion, which has increased risks for customers and employees as was foreseen earlier. “Despite the crowds, most retailers are not able to generate sufficient business as they can only handle a few customers at a time and are doing their best to adhere to SOPs,” he added.

Around 70 to 80 percent of the Eid shopping is recorded in last ten days, while this year total volume of Eid shopping is estimated at Rs600-700 billion across the country. Thus, the share of last ten days shopping comes to around Rs420-560 billion.

As the representative trade body for the sector, CAP estimates that at least Rs30-40 billion in tax revenues would be generated in sales and income tax from the last ten days of Eid shopping. Mehbood explained that the taxes for goods sold by retailers was generated at all stages such as import, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, therefore tax generation from retail on the whole was much higher than estimated by the FBR.