Tax exemption on educational products in Pakistan

Islamabad: The Institute for Social Justice (ISJ) urged the Prime Minister of Pakistan to give tax exemption to all education related products and items as well as tax free salaries to all public sector teachers in the next fiscal budget 2014-2015.

The ISJ has said that in order to create a fair educational environment in the country and encourage the poor to take part in the educational and development life of the country, Pakistan needs to abolish all kinds of sales and value added taxes on all types of pencils, pens, color pencils, rulers and sharpeners. Sales and VAT taxes on books from prep-class to intermediate class should also be abolished.

Such tax relief would help not only students going to public schools but also students in private schools. There are thousands of private schools in the country which are catering for the needs of poor people in vicinities where the government is unable to build education infrastructure. According to Article 25A of the Constitution of Pakistan, government is responsible for the provision of books, uniforms and other material for children from 5 to 16 years of age. There are millions of children who go to private community schools. Both the children and the schools need sufficient financial support and encouragement to be able to take part in different education schemes. The ISJ urges the prime minister to launch joint schemes with private companies like Bata, Services, GulAhmed under a public private partnership to provide quality shoes and uniforms to all children until they have finished school at the intermediate level.

The ISJ laments that in the past no government has taken care of the education and other matters of children with disabilities. These children are considered a burden mainly because the state does not provide financial support for their education and welfare. Therefore, in the next fiscal year, ISJ urges that children with disabilities should be given special consideration. The need for properly equipped special education centres is pressing. In addition regular educational institutions should be made easily accessible by children with disabilities at all stages of their education.

The ISJ also states that the government should reduce 70 percent fees in public universities and colleges and that teachers and professors in those institutions should not pay tax on their salaries. It is estimated that more than 10 million children of school age are unable to afford schooling and of those who can there are millions who cannot continue their education after matriculation and intermediate class because they cannot afford the fees; even the fees of public sector colleges and universities are financially out of reach.

The ISJ laments that there is no public or private bank in the country that could provide interest free loans to students to pursue higher education in the country. This government should allocate special funds for student loans for higher education. Such loans should be interest free and available to all students who have passed intermediate class with any grade. This is the time to invest in children and youth. They are the present and the future of the country.

One thought on “Tax exemption on educational products in Pakistan

  1. Pingback: Frederick