Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) & Former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) M. Zubair Motiwala has stressed that the pending Income Tax Refund Claims of small traders, shopkeepers and the SMEs must be calculated out of the turn and the claims of around Rs50,000 to Rs100,000, whose assessment has been completed, should be released on top priority which would bring some relief to the lives of small businessmen during the ongoing extraordinary situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
Blocking such refunds oppresses small businesses which continue to face serious cashflow problems. We have no idea how long the COVID-19 pandemic would last and it is a well-known fact that almost every household is a victim of this pandemic therefore, the government will have to provide relief as it is totally uncertain where the businesses will land up in the days to come, he added while speaking at a meeting of Small Traders held at KCCI.
The meeting was also attended by General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, President KCCI M. Shariq Vohra, Senior Vice President KCCI M. Saqib Goodluck, Vice President KCCI Shamsul Islam Khan, Chairman of KCCIs Special Committee for Small Traders Majeed Memon, Former Senior Vice Presidents Javed Bilwani and Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Former Vice President Talat Mehmood and KCCI Managing Committee Members along with representatives of several commercial markets from all over Karachi.
Chairman BMG stressed that the government will have to bring in major changes in the taxation system and it also needs to devise effective mechanism to minimize the hardships of small traders as although big businesses may survive but the small ones need support as they have no access to financing facilities and have also lost all their savings while battling with the situation triggered by the pandemic. SMEs and shopkeepers are the worst sufferers of the COVID-19 pandemic who must not be undermined and given relief.
He also stressed the need to resolve CNIC issue which was creating a lot of problems for the already perturbed businessmen who were compelled to run their businesses with limited timings and were strictly advised to comply with all the SOPs for containing COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in creating a troublesome situation for small traders by raising the costs and lowering the earnings.
In response to concerns expressed over the imposition of municipal tax, he said that President KCCI has already taken up the municipal tax issue and was strictly pursuing the same so that the grievances faced by small traders could be minimized. Moreover, the Karachi Chamber was also closely monitoring the relocation of displaced shopkeepers whose premises were razed during the anti-encroachment drive. These shopkeepers must be provided adequate alternate place for business and we are seriously working on it, he assured.
Chairman BMG said the problems confronted by small traders will always be given top priority by the leadership of Businessmen Group and sitting office bearers of the Karachi Chamber who would keep on raising a strong voice and make all out efforts to get the issues resolved.
Zubair Motiwala, while recalling his journey with Late Siraj Kassam Teli, said that the vacuum created after the sad demise of late Siraj Teli cannot be filled by anyone but he along with all Vice Chairmen BMG and General Secretary BMG would try their level best to come up to the expectations of the entire business & industrial community, particularly the small traders who play the role of backbone in the economy. We always spoke vocally about your issues and would continue to do so in future as well with same zeal and enthusiasm. KCCI would move forward hands-in-hands and its doors will always remain open for small traders while the policies introduced by Late Siraj Teli will remain intact and any inevitable change in these policies would only take place after consultation.
Speaking on the occasion, President KCCI M. Shariq Vohra said that the small traders were the assets of KCCI and the Chamber fully realizes their significance. KCCIs role is to facilitate and support the business community in dealing with numerous government related matters and pave way for the progress and prosperity of small traders. This is our job and we will remain unshakable until numerous issues are amicably resolved, he added.