BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: The contractors in Gilgit-Baltistan [G-B] have announced strike against an increase in the income tax in the region.
The strike came a day after federal government raised income tax from 3 percent to 7.5 percent, withdrawing a 100 percent discount facility enjoyed by the residents of G-B.
“This is illegal and therefore we have decided to stop work on the development projects,” Firdos Ahmed, president contractor association G-B said while addressing a press conference in Gilgit on Sunday.
The contractors, who have already been denied escalation charges over the years, will get a blow due to this step, said Ahmed who was thronged by dozens of his colleagues in the press club.
Ahmed said the contractors will be the worst sufferers of the decision as it will directly hit them, adding the will launch a moment against the decision.
The contractors said the government should first clear ‘our outstanding dues before imposing new taxes.’
The boycott will halt work on dozens of development projects initiated by the government across the region.
In a letter, the G-B Council asked Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue [AGPR] to withdraw the 50 percent discount given to residents of G-B since long. The letter further said the facility was a mistake which didn’t have legal standing. Therefore it should be fixed.
The discount facility, which the resident in G-B had been enjoying till now, was apparently because of the disputed status of the region. However it is being now withdrawn in the back drops of possible reforms the federal government is planning to introduce in the Empowerment and self-governance order 2009.
A committee formed to introduce reforms has met twice in the recent days suggesting way forward steps. The chief minister of G-B Hafeezur Rahman is also part of the committee which is headed by Sartaj Aziz, national security advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The new decision will be applicable to food items, transport companies, and print and electronic media.