KARACHI, PAKISTAN — Flour mills across Pakistan closed in support of a Pakistan Flour Mill Association (PFMA) protest against taxes impacting flour mills, The Daily Times reported. 

A tax on bran and an increase rate of turnover tax on flour mills incited the protest leading to the closure of about 80 mills across the country and the tightening of flour supplies and its byproducts. 

Muhammad Yousaf, chairman of PFMA, said the association is imploring the government to withdraw the 17% tax on bran and if it is not, mills are prepared to continue the strike. 

The Federal Board of Revenue agreed to withdraw the 17% sales tax and that the income tax on the turnover of flour mills will remain at 0.25%, The Daily Times said. The PFMA is still holding the strike as the association wants an official notification from the federal government of the tax withdrawal. The strike began on June 23 and has continued through June 25 so far. 

Millers warned the impact of the protest may not be noticed for a few days but once the flour supply diminishes, a gap of over 100,000 tonnes of flour could be created if the strike continues through to next week, Dawn reported. 

Majin Abdullah, a mill owner, told Dawn, that if the flour market is stalled for three or four days it will take just as long for the production to recover. He also noted that if the strike does continue it could create more supply issues as flour supply ticks up in the first week of the month due to grocery shopping trends.