The Swat Marble Industry Association on Wednesday unanimously rejected the royalty tax imposed on the marble industry by the provincial government. The members of the association decided to start a protest movement against it.
“The minerals minister assured us he would arrange a meeting with the K-P chief minister to discuss the issue but the provincial government has already issued the notification for imposing the royalty tax,” said the association’s president, Fazal Manan, at an emergency meeting held in Mingora on Wednesday. “This is complete injustice.”
The provincial government recently announced a 200% royalty tax after which the office-bearers of the district’s marble association held several meetings with the secretary minerals and Minister for Minerals Ziaullah Afridi who assured them the decision would be reviewed.
The members of the association said Malakand Division is exempted from all kinds of taxes but they still pay Rs30 per tonne of marble stone.
Rejecting the new tax, the irate members said they will jointly protest with Buner Marble Association; the protests will be held throughout the province.
“We will not accept any kind of taxes in Malakand Division and will not even pay those which we have been paying,” said Manan. “If the government tries to impose new taxes forcibly, we will shut down our industry which will render thousands of workers jobless.”
Swat Marble Industry Association representatives said the responsibility will fall entirely on the PTI-led provincial government which continues to talk about justice. They demanded the provincial government take back its decision or else face protests.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2014.