Flour mills launch countrywide 2-day strike against budget measures

ISLAMABAD: Flour mills across Pakistan are going on a two day strike from Thursday in protest against budget measures proposing a hike in income tax on the turnover of flour mills and an increase the sales tax on bran.  

In this regard, Rawalpindi-Islamabad Flour Mills Association (RIFMA) Patron Tariq Sadiq warned that millers would start an indefinite strike as per the Pakistan Flour Mills Association’s (PFMA) decision if their demands were not met and called upon the government to immediately withdraw this to avoid food inflation and flour shortage.

He said that masses get 70 per cent of their nutrition requirements from flour which is why it should not be made expensive. 

He also said bran is consumed by livestock and slapping additional sales tax on it is a wrong step as it will increase its price by Rs10 per kg which will result in a hike in the price of milk, beef, and mutton. 

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PFMA Punjab Chairman, Asim Raza, said that cigarettes have been given more importance than flour in the budget which is unjustified and reflects insensitivity. 

“All over the world important food items are not taxed to keep their price in the buying power of masses while subsidies worth billions were given amid pandemic to provide relief to consumers but it’s different in Pakistan,” he lamented.

He informed that 285 million tonnes of flour is consumed annually in Pakistan and its price should not be increased but reduced to provide relief to masses reeling under runaway inflation. 

“FBR’s irresponsible and unjust attitude is not helping, but instead paving way for another crisis in the country; therefore, the federal government should withdraw the 17 per cent sales tax on the choker and restore the previous rate of 0.25 per cent turnover tax,” he warned.  

 

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Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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