LAHORE - A major body of traders has announced a countrywide shutter down next month if the federal government did not withdraw withholding tax on banking transactions permanently.

Addressing a press conference in federal capital, President Anjuman-e-Tajiran Khalid Pervaiz rejected 0.3 per cent withholding tax on banking transactions. “We will have a countrywide shut down on August 5,” he told media.

Pervaiz said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar did not call up true representatives of traders and retailers during the negotiations held last week to cut tax rate to 0.3 percent from earlier 0.6 percent announced in the federal budget. He said that traders have rejected any kind of tax on withdrawing cash from their banking accounts.

“We altogether reject this kind of withholding tax,” he added. The withholding tax was announced in the budget 2015-16 on banking transactions for the non-filers of income tax. After hectic negotiations with some traders, Dar had said that the reduction in tax rate will be applicable till 30th September this year.

However, another group of All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran has rejected strike call, announcing to play its role for documentation of the economy, as the finance ministry and FBR in recent meeting with trade bodies have accepted all demands of traders, besides reducing withholding tax on banking transactions to 0.3 percent.

APAT general secretary Naeem Mir said that the government has agreed with the demand of traders to abolish present income tax system for traders, implementing turnover tax for them to the maximum ratio of 0.25 per cent.

He said that the business community was satisfied with the outcome of the talks, appealing to all traders and industrialists to now file the income tax returns and become honourable citizens of the country. He said if the FBR and Finance Ministry continued its positive approach towards the business community, no businessman would be a non-filer in the country.

“The traders also demanded to bring them in zero-rated regime, deducting their tax through importers or manufacturers. Our assets should be declared as white without any payment of surcharge, including our whole money, cash, all stock of goods and undeclared bank accounts.”

Al the businessmen who were non-filers would become filers in the next three months.

“The traders will support the tax department awareness drive to pay tax in national interest. The government only needs to make tax system simple and easy and traders will always stand along with it for improving taxation system. All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran is representatives of taxpayers or those traders who want to pay tax. We are not representing mafias, tax evaders or those smugglers who are damaging national economy.”