LAHORE    -    Jewellers from across the province have urged the government to take steps on war footing for checking increase in exchange rate of dollar against rupee as it has pushed the prices of gold and other precious and semi-precious stones upward. The demand was raised through a unanimous resolution adopted at a meeting convened by the Lahore Division Sarafa & Jewellers Association held at the FPCCI Regional Office here on Thursday.

Association’s Chairman and Convener FPCCI Regional Standing Committee on Gems & Jewellery Muhammad Ahmad chaired the meeting. He said that the government was also imposing sales tax both at the federal and provincial levels. Such a move had also initiated by the government in 1998 which was foiled by the jewellers community through protests and demonstrations. He said that if government was really sincere to bring the country out of present financial crisis, it should utilize the abundant natural resources available in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan has 30 per cent of the total gems available around the world and by promoting exports of value-added products, it cannot only avoid IMF pressure but also bring precious foreign exchange.

Muhammad Ahmad said that they had floated this proposal many times in the past but all the governments turned a deaf ear. He warned that the jewellers would be forced to shutter down their businesses if the proposals of levying GST at provincial and federal levels were not withdrawn.