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Pakistan Finance Minister, Miftah Ismail (file photo)
Pakistan Finance Minister, Miftah Ismail (file photo)

Pak: Miftah to withdraw taxes on energy bills amid traders' protest

ANI | Updated: Aug 01, 2022 09:40 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 1 (ANI): Amid strong opposition from small retailers over the collection of taxes through electricity bills, Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has decided to exempt the small traders with bills of less than 150 units from the tax as the community staged protests and refused to pay the taxes on energy bills.
"We will charge Rs 3,000 even to those shopkeepers who are not registered with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The tax paid will be full and final. No tax notice will be issued to shops nor will FBR officers visit their shops," tweeted the finance minister, adding that the government will ensure that small traders are completely satisfied with the new tax law, reported Geo News.
The decision came after the traders across the country staged protests and refused to pay the tax.
In fact, the All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran and Traders Action Committee Islamabad rejected fixed sales tax on electricity bills and demanded its withdrawal as the economic mess in the South Asian country has made the lives of the citizens miserable.
Ajmal Baloch, the president of the All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran and Traders Action Committee, Islamabad, in a press conference on Thursday, along with officials from all markets in the federal capital, demanded removal of Ismail and said, "No electricity bills containing fixed sales tax would be paid, and if Wapda or any power supply company tried to remove the electricity meters, traders would launch a protest movement."

According to Geo News, the budget document showcased that fixed income and sales tax regimes of Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 had been imposed on the small retailers to bring them into the tax net and the budget for the current fiscal year had decided to deduct tax through electricity bills from small shopkeepers or retailers across the country.
After facing widespread protests from traders related to the collection of taxes via electricity bills and requests from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announced certain measures to satisfy small retailers.
Responding to a tweet by PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif who had asked him to "withdraw tax on electricity bill" as the businessmen were complaining, Ismail said "The finance minister said that to address the concerns of the small retailers the government will exempt shops with bills of less than 150 units from the tax."
Amid the rising inflation in the county, the Shehbaz Sharif-led Pakistan government raised the electricity price in the country on July 23 by PKR 7.91 per unit under "uniform national tariff".
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) raised the tariff after Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif granted advance clearance for a PKR 7.91/unit increase in the base power cost.
Early this month, the Shehbaz Sharif government raised the base power cost in an effort to revive the IMF's delayed Extended Fund Facility (EFF). (ANI)