Pakistan Chemists and Druggists Association (PCDA) Punjab announced on Friday to launch a country-wide strike till the advance tax on the pharma sector is revoked.
The PCDA will observe the shutter-down strike from July 15 to protest the advance tax. All pharmacies from Karachi to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) will remain closed.
Addressing a press conference after the convention of pharma industry people at a local hotel, PCDA Chairman Salahuddin Sheikh demanded an immediate withdrawal of the tax.He warned that they will go on indefinite strike from July 19 if the demands are not met, asking people suffering from ailments, including the covid-19 virus, to store medicines in advance.
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“The responsibility of the people’s health and life is incumbent upon the government and not on the traders.”The chairperson urged President Arif Alvi to issue a notification to abolish taxes. He said that a letter was also written to the finance minister and chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) before taking “such extreme step”.
There has been no positive response from the government, he added. “In the past two years, the pharmaceutical sector has rendered invaluable services.”“The pharma sector is in dire straits at the moment,” he said, adding that the government may impose taxes but should also create “a friendly environment”.“In the current situation, there is no choice but to launch a protest movement.”
He lamented that the entire pharmaceutical business in the country was worth Rs600 billion, claiming the government already gets Rs3 billion in taxes.