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Govt urged to revise policy of indirect taxes

By Our Correspondent
January 21, 2022

LAHORE:Speakers at a conference organised by NGOs on Thursday at the Lahore Press Club demanded the government revise its policy of indirect taxes which affect the poor and increase inequality in the society.

NGOs are observing January 15-22 as global week of action against rising inequity under the theme of "Tax the rich, not the poor". The week is being observed under the banner of an association called "Fight Inequality Alliance Pakistan" formed by some 30 NGOs.

The press conference was addressed by Saima Zia of Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee, Jalwat Ali of Labour Education Foundation, Nasir Iqbal of International Human Rights Movement and Riffat Maqsood of Tameer-e-Nau.

Fight Inequality Alliance has planned to hold protest in 10 cities, including Lahore, Karachi, Larkana, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Rawalpindi, Shahdadkot, Multan, Dera Ismail Khan and Mardan.

NGOs’ representatives said the tax on salaries had increased while the citizens were bearing the burden of indirect taxes and were actually giving 50 percent of their salaries in taxes, said Saima Zia. She said subsidy on urea was given to companies whereas it should be given to farmers.

Nasir Iqbal alleged that the government’s policies were actually playing a part in widening the gap between rich and the poor. Women and youth who get loans under different schemes of the govt are the ones who are tax filers but the have-nots left behind without any option or way-out, said Riffat Maqsood.

Jalwat Ali said skilled labour is getting Rs18-20 thousand for 12 hours work whereas by law they are supposed to work for 8 hours and in addition to that they are not being paid overtime. Unfortunately, the skilled workers are also not being paid minimum wage at many places which is Rs20,000, she said.

She said if the factories are closed due to COVID-19, then the employers should give the workers half pay but they don’t. The workers at most of the workplaces cannot form union due to zero tolerance policy of employers for forming unions.