CONSUMER FINANCE

You ain't seen nothin yet!

Eating out could be a thing of the past

Jun 15 - 21, 1996 

In February this year our Consumer Finance was headlined "You ain't seen nothin' yet!", with the heading highlight which said "Moeen Qureshi was right - we have yet to see a lot more". (PAGE issue no. 7, February 17-23, '96)

And today, with the federal and provincial budgets announced, the people are saying what they sincerely believe: that they 'have yet to see a lot more'!

This year only (six months) there have been series of price hikes on this pretext or the other, the more pronounced one being the ones after the increase in the petroleum products, during this budget, prices of petroleum products have been decreased and the same taken out of the consumers in the shape of different taxes.

Restaurants

Since for the average middle income family, the only entertainment available for the family is to enjoy an eating out during the weekend or at the club for those belonging to club.

Eating out at the club now won't be the same again because of the tax imposed on the caterings provided by the club.

PAGE Consumer Finance spoke to some of these clubs in the city. Except for the Services Club that claimed to be a Mess for the defence personnel, other clubs such as Karachi Club, Sindh Club, Karachi Boat Club and Defence Authority Club simply said they are not in position to say anything now since they have not been informed (by the government) about the duties imposed on the catering in their clubs, but the secretary of Karachi Gymkhana Saleem Akhtar went further to express his resentment of any attempt to impose any duty on the Gymkhana because according to him, the Gymkhana is a non-profit organisation and the centre is a "sports ground where refreshments are provided for the members."

According to analysts, not only have the duties on the services of restaurants, hotels ,launderers, dry cleaners and beauty parlors been increased from 10% to 12% the list has been expanded to include clinics and clubs as well, details of which are yet to be announced.

A sum of 50% of the retail price has been levied on fruit juices ( including grape) and vegetable juices, unfermented and not containing added spirit, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter.

Waters, including natural or artificial mineral waters and aerated waters not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter nor flavoured (ice and snow) and other non-alcoholic beverages not including fruit or vegetable juices have been subjected to central excise duty of 50% of the retail price

Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes have been subjected to duty of upto 80% of the retail price.

Mixtures of odoriferous substances and mixtures substances and mixtures (including alcoholic solutions) with a basis of one or more of these substances, of a kind used as raw materials in industry: other preparations based on odoriferous substances of a kind used for manufacture of beverages have come under the duty bracket of 200%.

100% ad valorem central excise duty has also been imposed on bituminous mixtures based on natural asphalt, on natural bitumen, on petroleum bitumen, on mineral tar or on mineral tar pitch.

According to the new budget, the withdrawal of 10% regulatory duty imposed last year has been postponed for another year and the tax holiday for fruit-processing units will now expire in June 1997.

The new sales tax imposed on tea at the packaging stage will lead to its price being increased by three to four per cent.

According to an analyst at Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari & Co. the sales tax imposed on tea at the packing stage will not serve any purpose other than increasing smuggling. The local manufacturers who import tea leaf are at present paying over 62 per cent as import duties while the postponement of the regulatory duty withdrawal on the tea, according to him " will not serve any purpose."

Duties on other consumer items such as wrist watches, video cassette recorder (VCR) as well as spark plugs and ball bearings have been increased from 10 to 15%. Duty on imported tyres and tubes of buses has been increased from 10% to 15% while that on tyres and tubes of commercial vehicles reduced from 15% to 10%