District: (Sialkot’s all trade bodies reject 3% increase in GST)

SIALKOT: Sialkot’s all the main trade bodies including Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) have strongly rejected the proposed three percent increase in the general sales tax (GST) by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Rejecting the proposed increase in GST by FBR in the coming budget, Sialkot exporters have also demanded zero rated GST to boost Sialkot’s export-oriented industries.

Addressing an important press conference held at the auditorium of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here on Wednesday, the representatives of all the main trade bodies of Sialkot strongly rejected this proposed increase in GST and urged the government to announce zero rated GST in the coming fiscal budget of the country for facilitating the business community, in this regard.

SCCI President Fazal Jillani urged the government not to increase the ratio of existing GST, saying that the government should make the zero rated policy by taking the business community into the confidence in this matter.

He warned that the Sialkot exporters would on roads by locking up their factories if the FBR increased the existing GST ratio from 2 percent to 5 percent with 3 percent increase.

He urged the government to make it zero rated. He said that Sialkot’s all the trade bodies were on one page over this crucial issue , saying that the proposed 3 percent increase in general sales tax (GST) by FBR would badly affect the export-oriented industries of Sialkot which had already been suffering from prolonged energy crisis and great financial crunch due to inordinate delay in the clearance of sales tax, duty draw back claims by the FBR, in this regard.

Addressing the press conference, Chairman Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PGMEA) Mohammad Younas termed the proposed 3 percent increase in GST by FBR as “unjustified” , saying that this increase would kill the export-oriented industries of Sialkot. He said that government should announce some trade and export related incentives for the exporters instead of pushing additional financial burden on the shoulder of the exporters in shape of increase GST by FBR.

A representative of Surgical Instruments Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (SIMAP) urged the government to announce early withdrawal of 15 percent regulatory duty already imposed on the steal made surgical instruments by the government. He said that shelving of this Regulatory Duty would help to boost the surgical exports from Sialkot.

Expressing grave concern over this critical situation, Chairman Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLGMEA) Ehtesham Gillani said that both Ministry of Commerce and Minister of Finance should be on one page for facilitating the business community, instead of running their horses towards the opposite directions. He demanded that government should announce zero rated policy regarding GST, in this regard.

SCCI President Fazal Jillani added that the Sialkot exporters would come on roads after locking their factories, besides, besieging the offices of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Collectorate of Customs in Sialkot if the government increased the ratio of persisting GST.

On this occasion, Chairman Sialkot Dry Port Trust (SDPT) Khawar Anwar Khawaja termed it a very cruel act of government if the FBR made any increase in the GST ratio. He alleged that country’s corrupt bureaucracy was creating hurdles in the way of promotion of national exports and bringing stability in national economy. Khawar Anwar Khawaja said the present circumstances now had become unbearable for the Sialkot exporters, saying that the Sialkot exporters would not be able to increase the Sialkot exports to US$ 6 billion from the existing US$ 1.8 billion annually during the next three years.

Sialkot trade bodies’ representatives revealed that proposed levy of 5 percent sales tax on the exports of textile, surgical, carpet, sports and leather sector will have destructive effect on the export. This would add to the existing woes of the exporters and the export-oriented industries. They added this 3 percent proposed increase would not be acceptable for the exporters as it will crush the exports.

They revealed that these decisions should not be taken in the offices, Government should take business community on board. SCCI SVP Mir Alamgir Meyer added that the export sector is further burdened with high power and gas tariffs, which have made it very hard and difficult for the Sialkot exporters to compete in the international markets. This increase of sales tax would further enhance the grievances of SME’s.

He added that on the one hand Government of Pakistan encourages the export industry to boost up the foreign exchange earnings but on the other hand department is planning such unpleasant steps which not only would affect the efficiency but also let down the morale of business community. Government should make business friendly policies, so that the business community can focus on the increase of exports which would ultimately result in the progress of the Country, he added.

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