KP flourmills demand withdrawal of withholding tax

Peshawar   -  The Pakistan Flour Mills Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa urged the federal government to remove the withholding tax on flour.

At a news conference, the association’s chairman Muhammad Iqbal Khan and other office-bearers threatened a shutdown strike if their demands were not met by July 11.

They called on the Punjab government to permit free movement of flour to KP and dismantle checkposts set up for monitoring flour transport.

The dealers alleged that despite adequate flour stocks, the federal government aimed to export the commodity. They criticised Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s promise of relief as a mere political statement.

Despite sufficient flour supply, the Punjab government’s restrictions on flour movement to other provinces were deemed unjustified, with allegations of bribery at the checkposts. They demanded withdrawal of withholding tax on flour, removal of Maximum Demand Indicator charges on electricity bills, and permission for free flour movement to KP.

The dealers warned of an indefinite shutdown protest if their demands were not addressed by July 11.

He said the federal government also imposed unjust taxes on the flour industry like others, adding after imposing the With Holding tax from 0.1 per cent to 2.50 per cent prices of flour would further be increased.

Similarly, Iqbal said the ratio of another tax collected in the name of Minimum Demand Indicators (MDI) in electricity bills has been increased from the flour industry which is completely unfair and wouldn’t be accepted at any cost.

He explained that before that MDI ratio was Rs500/kw which has now increased to Rs2000/kw, average of flour mill which is paying from Rs250,000 and Rs300,000 monthly, will now pay from Rs1 million to 1.2 million per month on the head of MDI. This burden will not only bear the flour industry but also will affect the poor masses, he added.

Owing to an increase in afore-stated two taxes, the millers said that a 20-kg flour bag price will increase Rs200 and in grinding 100-kg bag will increase by Rs1000, he maintained.

Flanked by the flour millers’ group leader Naeem Butt, Iqbal said that wheat is available in a surplus quantity in the country, and the government is now considering to export this additional wheat. The millers said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is always depending on Punjab with regard to procurement of wheat.

The millers said a meeting of central chairman of Pakistan Flour Mills’ Association held in the chairmanship of Asim Raza on July 6, unanimously decided ‘if the demands were not accepted, then the millers will observe a complete shutter-down strike for an indefinite period from Thursday (July 11).