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LAHORE: Apparently as a last resort to settle tax-related issues of traders once for all, All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) Central General Secretary Naeem Mir has challenged Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin to hold an open debate with him on any national TV channel over "unfair" taxation measures adopted by the PTI government in its federal and provincial budgets 2021-22.

"If I proved wrong during the discussion, we (APAT) would wholeheartedly accept all the taxes and follow the government directives. But if I won, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin would tender his resignation immediately," said Mir while addressing a traders convention held here under the aegis of APAT on Tuesday.

The office-bearers of APAT and leaders and presidents of other associations of the traders from across the country also participated in the convention in large numbers with an aim to deliberate upon how they could build up pressure on the government for resolving their tax-related issues. They decided that if the government failed to redress their issues, they would besiege the regional offices of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on September 29, 2021.

Addressing the participants, Naeem Mir said they would not allow the government officials to install Point of Sale machines at their businesses. He said that traders would not become part of "complex" taxation system introduced by the PTI government, adding that inflation is currently all-time high due to excessive taxation in the country.

The APAT senior leader further said that they would display banners in every street across the country inscribed with slogans to condemn tax reforms introduced by the "inept" and "incompetent" PTI government.

"A final score will be settled with the FBR on Sep 29 if our reservations were not thoroughly addressed," he added.

APAT Central President Ajmal Baloch said that the incumbent and previous governments had been promising that they would introduce reforms in the FBR but none of them had taken any "concrete" measures in this regard.

He asked the FBR officials to explain "who had given them the authority to install point of sale machines at his business centres/places".

"We would give a befitting response to the FBR officials if they tried to install these machines."

He said that taxes on the basis of size of a business place is not acceptable, adding that nothing good could be expected when important slots like finance minister are being filled on the purported direction of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He asked when the IMF-sponsored people would hold the portfolio of the finance minister instead of the local people, how could they work in the interest of Pakistanis.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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