The farming community has protested against the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)’s SRO 563, issued on April 29, under which only those farmers can get tractors at 5% sales tax, who will provide the copy of pass book or landholding record verified by the Land Revenue Office.

In all other cases, where farmers may not be able to show the pass book, 17% general sales tax (GST) will be applicable to the purchase of tractors.

“This new SRO is not practical as it will create problems for the farmers,” remarked Khalid Khokhar, President of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad, in a statement on Saturday.

“Farmers will have to face extra cost and time in order to get the copy of land record and get it verified from the land revenue authority,” he pointed out.

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According to Khokhar, in case of joint family system, mostly land is not handed over to the youth, who are practically cultivating crops on such land and buying tractors and farm machinery. “So, they will have to pay 17% sales tax as they are not landowners.”

The SRO also does not cover the farmers who are faming on rented and leased land.

Khokhar argued that in many areas of the country, land record was not regularly updated, thus the farmers would pay the extra tax and price.

“The above situation is very upsetting for the farming community as they are already under economic pressure due to increase in input prices and water shortage.”

The farmers’ lobby asked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema to take notice of the issue and advise the FBR authorities to immediately withdraw the SRO 563.

“Five per cent sales tax should be ensured on tractors, which is the key requirement for agriculture and a source of self-employment for the rural youth,” it said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2022.

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