Farmers protest against VAT

Post Source: The News – correspondent
May 19, 2010

LAHORE: The Farmers Associates Pakistan (FAP) has strongly protested against the proposed imposition of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on agriculture inputs and products.

In a special meeting convened by Dr M Tariq Bucha, Director & Chief Coordinator, FAP, the participants said that it would totally kill the farmers and cause irreparable damage to the agriculture sector by making inputs more expensive. This will, in turn, increase the prices of agriculture produce, adding to the miseries of both the farmer and consumer, who are already facing extreme economic depression.

The farming community is already facing adverse effects of poor and inefficient wheat policy and large outstanding payments from sugar mills and continuous increase in the prices of essential items in the market.

The FAP spokesman urged the government to discuss the VAT imposition with the farmers through the farmer bodies and refrain from implementing the detrimental conditions of the IMF. It is the right time that the government should resist unjustified pressures and, being a democratic government, should consider the welfare of the people of Pakistan as their paramount priority.

Agriculture is a sector which can be described as a golden egg laying hen, which the present government, in connivance with the IMF, wants to slaughter and get all the golden eggs at one time. They are sadly mistaken and need to straighten their direction and approach.

The FAP spokesman said if the government, despite being democratic, took dictatorial steps by imposing the VAT, the farmers would resort to countrywide protests along with other sectors and for that the government alone would be responsible.

He further added that the government had already caused more than 20 billion rupees loss to the farmers by making huge profits through extraordinary and unwarranted high prices of oil, fuel and through tax on use of utilities and withdrawal of subsidies on essential inputs.

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