LAHORE: Jewellers across the province termed imposition of tax on shops illogical and announced on Thursday to go on a shutdown strike from Oct 1.

“The government is not paying heed to our demands. And it seems that we are being left with no option but to protest,” said All Pakistan Sarafa, Gems and Jewellers Group chief Haji Muhammad Iqbal at a press conference.

“We are setting a week-long deadline for withdrawal of three per cent sales tax on jewellery shops having an area over 300 square feet. And if our demand is not accepted, we will launch protest by observing a complete strike from Oct 1,” Mr Iqbal, who was flanked by other office-bearers, announced.

They jewellers’ representatives said the government levied a monthly fix tax of Rs40,000 on small jewellers and 3pc sales tax on shops having covered area over 300 square feet. The representatives had met Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Aug 12 after which the fixed tax was deferred.

However, the sales tax was sustained and another 1pc import levy was also slapped. But jewellers, they claimed, do not fall under sales tax as they do not have any input in jewellery making except labour or manufacturing.

They claimed customers come with their old ornaments which jewellers recycle and refine into new designs. “Since we only charge making or price of stones, imposition of fixed tax or sale tax is illogical and it must be withdrawn with immediate effect,” Mr Iqbal said.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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