RCCI warns of nationwide Protest, shutter down strike

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RCCI warns of nationwide Protest

RAWALPINDI, JUL 05 (DNA) — An emergent consultative meeting was held at the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the impact of the recently passed fiscal Budget 2024. President RCCI Saqib Rafiq along with Group Leader Sohail Altaf, chaired the meeting.

In the course of the meeting, representatives from the ICMA and tax bar associations provided a comprehensive overview of the measures outlined in the budget, including tax rates, FBR additional powers, penalties for filers, non-filers, and late filers, double taxation, and advance tax.

Participants expressed strong opposition to the anti-business measures introduced in the 2024 budget, particularly the imposition of additional taxes on existing taxpayers. Concerns were raised regarding the potential negative impact of these measures on businesses, with participants emphasizing that the budget measures could lead to business closures.

 Additionally, concerns were voiced regarding the substantial powers granted to the FBR in terms of the Tax Fraud Investigation Unit and the rising electricity bills faced by traders. The participants highlighted that the creation of the Fraud unit will lead to further harassment of the existing taxpayer President Chamber Saqib Rafiq informed that a charter of demands will be presented to the government prior to any calls for organized nationwide protests and strikes.

A decision was made to seek the support and collaboration of all small and large factions of trade organizations and chambers across the country in preparation for a potential nationwide strike. It was emphasized that the budget was formulated without considering the prevailing ground realities and without consulting relevant stakeholders.

It is important to note that the business community has expressed concerns regarding the potential closure of businesses and industries as a result of the proposed budget measures. Specifically, the budget includes a significant increase in the revenue target of 40%, which places an additional burden on existing taxpayers.

Group leader Sohail Altaf expressed concerns regarding the impact of the budget on various stakeholders, including shopkeepers and industries.  Mr. Altaf cautioned that instead of implementing reforms and providing a roadmap for industrialization and increasing exports, the government has disincentivized the industry and especially exports by bringing exporters into the Normal Tax Regime as opposed to the Final Tax Regime previously.

He termed the budget regressive and inflationary along with reducing disposable income of businesses as well as salaried class. Senior Vice President Muhammad Hamza Sarosh, Vice President Faisal Shahzad, former presidents, Executive Committee Members, Women Members and a large number of RCCI members were also present on the occasion.

Representatives from the Anjuman e Tajran, Sheikh Siddique, Shahid Ghafoor Piracha, Sheikh Hafeez, Arshad Awan, Raja Jawad from Gujar Khan, Asif Idrees – Former President RCSTSI, leaders of different markets, representatives from the Tax Bar Associations and ICMA, including Tanseer Bukhari, Chairman of the RCCI Standing Committee on Tax Affairs, Faraz Fazal, President of RITBA, Shehzad Malik, President of ICMA, and Mian Ramzan, were present at the meeting.

Key individuals from various sectors and industries, including poultry, pharmaceuticals, mobile, furniture, travel and tourism, stationery, marble, construction, property, gems, and jewelry, were also in attendance. — DNA