LAHORE : More than 50 jewellers market under the banner of the Lahore Division Sarafa and Jewellers Association (LDS&JA) through a joint resolution demanded the government immediately withdraw 3 per cent GST and fixed monthly tax of Rs40,000 levied on small and medium jewellers.
At a meeting held here Sunday, the jewellers representatives termed it unworkable and a big blow to the business of the community which was already suffering because of higher gold prices and utility rates. The demanded was made in this emergency meeting of Lahore Division Sarafa and Jewellers Association which was presided over by Seth Muhammad Arshad.
Gold and its affiliates have been recognised as a special business, by the government through the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) by a written agreement in 1998. Jewellers and gold traders import raw material from abroad and there is no production in the country. Goldsmith are just involved in manufacturing or designing of the gold provided by the customers. Therefore, small and medium jewellers are not eligible for general sales tax. It should be withdrawn immediately, they said, adding if the government does not withdraw this tax, jewellers across the country would be forced to close their businesses indefinitely, for which the entire responsibility would fall on the government.
Addressing the meeting, Muhammad Ahmed, Chairman, Regional Standing Committee on Gems and Jewellery, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Lahore Division Sarafa and Jewellers Association, said that the government had reneged on its promise. Recent government measures will leave thousands of families unemployed. He said that due to the sharp rise in the price of gold, the purchasing power of the common man had been depleted; therefore, the fixed tax is unbearable. The work of jewellers has now shifted to artificial jewellery. Old jewellery is made and paid for, so it is impossible to collect sales tax on it.
Muhammad Ahmed added that the ban on 300 square meters should be lifted immediately. Jewelers reject it outrightly. On this occasion, it was unanimously decided that an action committee would be constituted to inform the agencies concerned about the implications of the imposition of General Sales Tax on the national gems jewellery sector.