KARACHI: The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has rejected the imposition of 10 per cent GST, calling it “disastrous for the survival of the already crisis-ridden print media” and urged the government to continue the exemption.

In an immediate reaction to the Federal Budget 2024-25 presented in the National Assembly on Wednesday, APNS President Nazafreen Saigol Lakhani and Secretary Sarmad Ali said that “inputs” used by the newspaper industry and depreciation of rupee had already increased the production cost for the print media industry.

“The imposition of the GST on newsprint imported by the newspaper industry would be disastrous for the survival of the already crisis-ridden print media,” they said in a joint statement.

“The newsprint and other inputs used by newspapers are all imported and due to unprecedented depreciation of Pak rupee the costs of newspapers have enormously increased. This has consequently resulted in the increase of cover price of newspapers which has badly affected their circulations.”

The financial crunch, they added, had been further exacerbated by the non-payment of long outstanding dues of print media by the federal and provincial governments.

The APNS office-bearers said the newspaper industry was expecting measures to provide relief including a 35pc increase in the long overdue government advertisement rates, but instead GST had been levied in the budget.

“The print media is the fourth pillar of the state and serves the nation by protecting people’s right to know and expression. It is therefore obligatory on the government to support the access of the people to information, especially in a time of misinformation and disinformation,” said the sta­tement, requesting Prime Mi­­nis­ter Shehbaz Sharif for the withdrawal of GST on the newsprint.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2024

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