Punjab Withdraws Cinema Tax For 3yrs
THE Punjab government has agreed to waive 65 percent entertainment tax on cinemas for three years with effect from July, 2009.
Cinema owners have welcomed this decision of the government, promising to ensure reduction in the price of cinema tickets. The decision was taken in a meeting between the Pakistan Exhibitors Association (PEA) with the government representatives at Alhamra Committee Hall.
Accompanied by Khwaja Imram, Farah Adeeba and Director General Excise Khwaja Daud, Senator Pervez Rashid led the government side. PEA chairmen Zohair Lashari headed the PEA delegation which included senior vice-chairman Shahbaz Khan, vice-chairman Safdar Khan and Sajjad Gul.
After detailed discussion of over two hours, the meeting ended on a much-needed pleasant note i.e. the government agreed to lift the ban amidst concerns of the excise department. The representatives from the government reasoned that the imposition had been lifted in the greater interest of the entertainment industry which needed the governmental cushion in these difficult circumstances. The meeting said the tax amount generated through the imposition of the entertainment tax was not substantial enough to weigh out its adverse effects on the industry and the masses at large. A proposal to further reduce the rate of taxing was also considered, but it turned down in favor of a substantial step which would eliminate complexities and give the cinema owners considerable room to bloom.
It was decided in the meeting that 65 percent entertainment tax exemption would be given till July, 2012, after which the decision would be reviewed to decide future course of action.
PEA chairmen Zohair Lashari termed the government imperative for the survival of the cinema industry, saying the tax had not only jeopardized the business of the owners of existing cinemas but also discouraged investors planning a much needed investment in the sector. He said that the construction of three cinemas, which was halted after the imposition of the tax, would be revived again. Cinema owners believe that lowering of the ticket price would benefit their business, in addition to encouraging masses to come cinema frequently. The owner of Gulistan Cinema, Asif Khan, termed the government decision the best news for the film industry in the past ten years, saying that it would play a key role in boosting the moral of people who had invested heavily in the sector.