Federal Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb has assured the APNS that the present government strongly believes in the freedom of expression and will safeguard freedom of press and address the problems faced by the print media.
The Information Minister was speaking at the meeting of the Executive Comm ittee of the APNS held at Islamabad wherein Mr. Sarmad Ali, President and Ms. Nazafreen Saigol Lakhani, Secretary General apprised her on the issues faced by the newspaper industry.
They stated that the 8th Wage Board had enhanced the wages of newspaper employees by minimum 146% and had recommended the federal government for increase in the advertisement rates of newspapers.
They regretted that the Federal Govt has not increased the rates which has resulted acute liquidity crunch for newspaper industry. They requested the federal government to enhance advertisement rates in proportion with the increase in inflation.
They also briefed the Minister on the reduction in the quantum of print advertising and requested that the quantum of Govt ads in newspapers be increased by 100% so that the newspaper industry could brave the crisis.
The APNS office bearers also pointed out that the federal government has not cleared the long outstanding dues of newspapers pertaining to the periods 2008 to 2013, 2013 to 2018 and from 2018 onwards despite various assurances.
They stated that during the previous tenure the APNS was assured that the WHT refunds of newspapers will be released but despite reminders these have not been paid. The APNS also requested the government to exempt GST on imports of consumables of newspaper industry.
Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb assured the APNS Executive Committee that she fully supports and agrees with the APNS demands of enhancing the advertisement rates and increase in the quantum of government advertising.
She assured that the long outstanding dues will be cleared as early as possible. She also stated that the issue of exemption of GST and refund of WHT will be taken up with the Finance Ministry.