ICCI DEMANDS WITHDRAWAL OF ADVANCE TAX ON PHARMA SECTOR

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ISLAMABAD, JUL 13 (DNA) – The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has called upon the government to withdraw the advance tax imposed on pharmaceuticals in the budget 2021-22 as it would increase the prices of medicines and put more financial burden on the poor patients besides affecting the business activities of the pharma sector.

Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that providing health services and medicines at affordable cost to the citizens is the basic responsibility of the state. However, the FBR vide its Circular No.2 of 2021-22 has broadened the scope of Sec-236G and 236H of Income Tax Ordinance 2001 to pharmaceuticals requiring them to collect advance tax on sale to distributors, dealers, sub-dealers, wholesalers and retailers, which would cause significant increase in the prices of medicines.

He said that the common man was already facing great problems due to high inflation while tax on pharmaceuticals would further push up the prices of medicines and would make the lives of poor patients more miserable as it would become very difficult for them to purchase costly medicines.   

Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said that the Chemists and Druggists Association has already rejected the advance tax levied in the budget 2021-22 and the businessmen of this sector have announced to go on strike against this tax in coming days.

Therefore, he urged that the government should pay serious attention to this issue to save the disruption in the supply chain of medicines as any shortage of medicines would create a lot of problems for the patients.

Fatma Azim Senior Vice President and Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI said that the advance tax under Sec-236G and 236H has also been levied on many new sectors including poultry and edible oil & ghee that would give rise to food inflation in the country as the prices of these products have already witnessed significant increase.

They said that the government should avoid imposing new taxes on essential items being consumed by the common man including medicines and food products as new taxes on daily used items would increase poverty and social unrest.

They emphasized that the government should always take all stakeholders into confidence before imposing new taxes in order to save the businesses and the common man from unnecessary troubles.