PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has criticised the imposition of sales tax on religious text and books part of school curriculum.
The KCCI has warned to file a petition if the government does not reverse its decision.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Chairman of KPCCI Frontier Printers and Publishers Association Iqtidar Ali Akhunzada said despite it being against the law, the previous government imposed 16% tax on books, while the current government has increased it to 17%.
Under Article 65 of Sales Tax Act 1930, various things including printing of Islamic and academic books had been exempted from sales tax.
“What happened to the government’s claim of improving education? After this tax, prices of books and stationery will increase,” said Akhunzada, adding if the government really was serious in increasing the literacy rate, textbooks, exercise books, pencils, pen and other stationery items must be made cheaper.
“The federal government exempted these products from customs duty and promised tax on stationery would be removed, but they have not done anything about it as yet,” he said.
There are 64 registered textbook printing presses in K-P that publish material for the K-P Textbook Board.
“As a developing country, the first duty of the government is to facilitate access to education,” said the KPCCI Frontier Printers and Publishers Association chairman, adding the sales tax will be passed on to the public. “Earlier governments avoided taxing stationery material,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2013.
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