Jewellers plan to go on strike against sales tax



LAHORE:

Associations of jewellers across Pakistan have threatened to go on a shutter-down strike from October 1, 2022 to protest against sales tax imposition on the basis of shop area.

“We are giving a week’s time for withdrawal of 3% sales tax levied on jewellery shops spread over 300 square feet,” announced All Pakistan Sarafa-Gems and Jewellers Group at a press conference on Thursday.

All Punjab Sarafa Association Chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Arshad, All Pakistan Jewellers Association General Secretary Tahir Mahmood Bhatti, Patron-in-Chief Iftikhar Hussain and others talked to the media.

They pointed out that the government levied a monthly fixed tax of Rs40,000 on small jewellers and 3% sales tax on shops having covered area of over 300 square feet.

Jewellers met with Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail in that connection on August 12, after which the fixed tax was deferred. But sales tax remained in place while 1% import tax was also slapped.

However, they claimed that jewellers did not fall within the sales tax net as they “do not add any input in jewellery making except for labour and manufacturing”.

Customers came with their old ornaments which jewellers recycled and refined into new designs, they said. The jewellers only demand making charges or the price of stones.

Leaders of jewellery manufacturers Haji Haroon Rasheed, Haji Amin Hussain and others again wrote to the government seeking negotiations but they did not receive any response from the quarters concerned.

They have now given a week’s time to the government for a positive solution to the problems facing the jewellers and if no solution is offered, 32,000 jewellers across Pakistan will go on an indefinite strike starting October 1, 2022 until their demands are met.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2022.

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Originally published at tribune.com.pk

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