Miftah Ismail accepts failure of taxing retailers

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Former finance minister Miftah Ismail stated that retailers (shopkeepers) could not be taxed during his tenure at the Q-block owing to “internal politics.”

Miftah stated while talking to a local channel that “there are 2.2 million shops [in Pakistan] and only 30,000 pay income tax.”

“When we attempted to impose taxes, shopkeepers put political pressure on us,” he claimed, adding that “we had to back down.”

Miftah’s statements were in response to former Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) chief Shabbar Zaidi’s recent remarks.

Zaidi highlighted his displeasure with bringing merchants into the tax net in an interview two days earlier.

“Retailers are a market mafia, and when we take measures against them, they go on a shutter down strike.”

He further claimed that the traders in Karachi “thrashed” him and were hesitant to cooperate in any documentation.

“They [retailers] asserted that no one in the market was going to pay tax.”

Miftah stated that the same was applicable with real estate. He proposed that construction be supported in the country while “file trading” be banned.

“A property tax should be imposed. People are buying and selling files,” he explained.

“Numerous NOCs are being sought for the establishment of industries. It is difficult to start an industry, but it is simple to invest in real estate,” he remarked.