PPMA extends deadline for nationwide strike by pharma industry

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) has deferred it’s decision to close down drug manufacturing units across the country after fresh assurances from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) over refund of 17 percent General Sales Tax (GST) being charged from the pharma industry on the import of raw material.

Chairing an emergent meeting of the PPMA, Chairman of the Association Qazi Mohammad Mansoor Dilawar however made it clear that the PPMA would be forced to give a call for strike if the commitment was not honoured within five days.

He warned that a nationwide strike by the pharma industry would lead to shortage of medicines but made it clear that the responsibility for the sufferings of the people would squarely lie on the Government.

He told a large number of Association’s members who attended the meeting that following the ultimatum of going on strike given at a recent press conference, the FBR contacted the association and various meetings with senior officials of the bureau took place where they once again promised to consider refund of GST on purchase of raw material, seeking more time for it.

In the last meeting with FBR, all multinational pharmaceutical companies along with national pharmaceutical manufacturers were present representing 97% of the pharma industry of Pakistan and presented a unified stance.

PPMA’s demand of sales tax refund on purchase basis is still not adapted by FBR and the online portal is also not operational while the industry is paying sales tax on all purchases of raw materials/API since January 16th.

He however regretted that no headway appears to have been made as neither any notification nor any press release to this effect had so far been issued by the FBR so far.

Recalling that the government had earlier agreed to reimburse GST on import of raw materials on purchase basis ,but later went back on their word, the association urged it to resolve the matter at the earliest.

Later talking to reporters, Member of the PPMA’s Central Executive Committee Usman Shaukat noted that the FBR continues to give a run around to the pharma industry and now they were seeking more time saying that an amendment in the law would be required.

Referring to the multiple challenges facing the industry, he said most of the raw material is imported and any increase in dollar rates adversely affects the cost of the local manufacturers. “The addition of GST on import of raw material is something indigestible”, he remarked.

The post PPMA extends deadline for nationwide strike by pharma industry appeared first on Pakistan Today.

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