Newsprint quota goes from July 1
ISLAMABAD- Federal Minister for Information and Media Development Javed Jabbar has said newsprint quota has been abolished from the new fiscal year.
In an interview he said Custom Duty on newsprint has been slashed from 10 to 5 per cent to bring down the prices of books, the Holy Quran, note books, cash memos etc. Similarly, the commercial importers of newsprint will pay the same duty as paid by the newspaper owners. Thus the newspapers would no longer have to rely on the government for newsprint quota, he said.
He said this step speaks volumes for the Musharraf government’s firm belief in the freedom of press. He said the previous governments stopped the newsprint quota to dissenting newspapers and gave it to the papers, which toed their line more than their requirements. There was a shady deal between those who issued and those who received the quota.
In line with its determination government to weed out corruption from every department, the present government has eradicated the element of corruption in issuance of the newsprint quota. Now the newspapers and the commercial importers will be able to import newsprint after payment of duty at a uniform rate. The government control on the newsprint has been abolished for the first time in many decades.
The shackles of quota have been removed and the newspapers and periodicals will no more have to depend on the Ministry of Information or any other government agency for fulfillment of their newsprint requirements, he added.
We have abolished the newsprint quota, which was an old demand of the national newspapers and periodicals for many years. We have practically freed the press whereas the political governments in the past paid only lip service to the freedom of press. Five per cent duty on newsprint has been retained only to give protection to the newspaper industry, so that the national paper industry could develop, Javed Jabbar added. The minister said no ban will be imposed on the freedom of expression. Newsmen of the country should keep national interest in mind while filing their reports and stories. We have neither any personal nor political interest but we have just national interest in our mind.
Source: The News