PESHAWAR: Frontier Mine Owners Association (FMOA) protested on Monday against the increase in taxes in the minerals sector by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government.
“The K-P government intends to destroy the rich mineral sector of the province and wants to hand over the whole sector to blue-eyed people,” alleged the association’s president, Sher Bandi, while protesting outside the Peshawar Press Club. FMOA General Secretary Haji Abdul Jalil was also present along with mine owners, who warned to hold a sit-in outside Bani Gala if their issues were not resolved.
Sher Bandi said tax, which stood at Rs30 per ton of marble, has now been increased to Rs90 per ton. The taxes on other minerals, he claimed, have been increased to up to 500%.
Almost 0.8 million labourers are associated with this sector, said Bandi. “The K-P minister for minerals should also be concerned for labourers who might lose their jobs due to such steps.”
The K-P government is planning to introduce a new policy to make the minerals sector more systematic.
As per the new policy, mines will only be leased on merit. The provincial government is also trying to attract foreign investment. Despite the new policy, officials associated with the sector are involved in corruption, alleged the protesters. They urged PTI chief Imran Khan and Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to review the decision of increasing taxes.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2014.