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Saturday August 13, 2022

Massive tax, duty relief to uplift showbiz industry

Miftah termed the uplift of film, culture and heritage, drama and fine arts necessary to promote the soft image of the country at the international level and bring innovations in societal trends

June 11, 2022
Massive tax, duty relief to uplift showbiz industry. Representational image for the Pakistani film industry.
Massive tax, duty relief to uplift showbiz industry. Representational image for the Pakistani film industry.

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The government has announced to establish a Film Finance Fund with the annual allocation of one billion rupees and launching the first-ever medical insurance policy for artistes.

This was revealed by Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail during the budget speech 2022-23 in the National Assembly on Friday. He termed the uplift of film, culture and heritage, drama and fine arts necessary to promote the soft image of the country at the international level and bring innovations in societal trends. He announced a five-year tax holiday for film makers, five-year income tax exemption on construction of new cinemas, production houses, film museums, tax rebate on film and drama export and income tax exemptions for cinema and producers.

Rs 1 billion will be utilised for establishing a National Film Studio along with a National Film Institute and a Post-Film Production Facility. The foreign film makers will be given tax rebate on local joint productions of films and dramas with the condition of 70 per cent shooting within Pakistan so that the projection of different local places can help promote tourism and culture, besides business activities.

Read full budget speech here. 

The minister said eight per cent withholding tax was being withdrawn for distributors and producers while five-year exemption from the customs duty on import of necessary equipment for films and dramas was being given.

Meanwhile, artistes have praised the positive measures the government has taken for the next fiscal year to promote the film industry and relieve film actors and workers.

Film actress Meera welcomed the budget and motivation given to the film industry by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying that she was really joyous to see that the government announced tax exemption for producers and cinema owners, 5-year tax holiday for filmmakers, new cinemas, production houses, film museums besides 10-year tax rebates for film and drama exports.

Talking to The News, she said she would like to set up her own production house for which she would request the prime minister to give her a grant of one hundred million rupees. She said the film industry would be revived in the country as film education and production facilities would be established with the status of CSR, including Post Film Production Facility, National Film Studio and National Film Production Institute.

Stage actress Saima Ali Khan said artistes dedicated their entire life to entertainment of general public and the government’s announcement of medical insurance of artistes and provision of a Rs1 billion fund for the film industry was an acknowledgement of the services given by artistes. She also welcomed the withdrawal of customs duty on equipment and machinery for production houses, theatres and cinemas, saying that it would promote the film industry and modernise the show business. She appreciated the decision that producers and cinema owners would be exempted from income tax.

Read full budget speech here. 

Filmmaker and director Sarmad Khosat said the establishment of a Rs1 billion annual binding film fund and National Film Institute, National Film Studio and Post Production Facility Centre at a cost of Rs1 billion would seem like a dream. If it was done, it would really benefit the film industry. With the exemption of five-year customs duty on the purchase of film and drama production equipment, the showbiz activities would increase.

Actor Humayun Saeed lauded the introduction of medical insurance policy for artistes. Cinema owner Zooraiz Lashari said the five-year income tax exemption would increase investment by those who build cinema halls, film museums and production houses.

Filmmaker and director Syed Noor said the government's move was welcome as 70pc shooting of films with foreign film makers would boost domestic tourism and industry.

Distributors Association Chairman Chaudhry Ijaz Kamran said the government “has won our hearts by abolishing 8pc withholding tax on distributors and producers”.

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