Pakistan flour mills association declares indefinite strike against withholding tax.

The Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) has announced an indefinite shutdown of flour mills in response to the imposition of a withholding tax. The decision was declared on Wednesday, with Punjab Chairman Asim Raza stating that taxing flour, an essential edible item, is both unfathomable and unacceptable. Raza emphasized that flour millers will not act as tax agents for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Key Points:

  • Immediate Halt in Operations: Over 1,500 flour mills have stopped wheat washing, and flour packing and supply will cease from July 11.
  • Nationwide Shutdown Threat: Central Chairman PFMA, Chaudhry Amir Abdullah, had previously announced the suspension of operations due to a deadlock with the government over the withholding tax issue.
  • Impact on Flour Prices: Abdullah warned that the tax would increase the price of flour by Rs8 per kilogram, burdening the common man.

Statements from PFMA Leaders:

  • Asim Raza: “Imposing tax on flour is unfathomable and unacceptable. Flour millers will never become tax agents for the Federal Board of Revenue.”
  • Chaudhry Amir Abdullah: “Instead of taxing the common man’s roti, the government should announce the withdrawal of this unnecessary withholding tax. The imposition of the withholding tax will take the price of flour to Rs8 per kg.”

Criticism of FBR: Abdullah criticized the FBR for failing to meet grinding tax targets, leaving the public burdened with excessive taxes without receiving adequate returns.

The strike by the PFMA underscores the ongoing conflict between the flour milling industry and the government, with significant implications for the availability and price of flour, a staple in Pakistani households.