Seeking to boost the local film industry which had suffered a setback due to Covid, the government set up a Binding Film Finance Fund at a cost of Rs 1 billion a year in addition to significant exemptions taxes for artists.
In a statement on Friday, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said a medical insurance policy had also been introduced for artists and filmmakers.
She added that in addition to a five-year tax holiday for filmmakers, a five-year tax rebate on the establishment of new cinemas, production houses, film museums and a tax rebate on the export of films and drama for ten years was also budgeted. “Revenues from cinemas and producers were exempt from income tax for the same duration.”
Marriyum went on to say that apart from the National Film Institute and the post-film production facility, a National Film Studio was being established at a cost of Rs 1 billion.
Cinemas, production houses, film museums, post-production facilities have received CSR status. Discounts would also be given to foreign filmmakers on joint film and drama projects locally.
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However, the information minister added that for this to take effect, the condition of shooting 70% of the film in Pakistan would be enforced so that business activities, including tourism and culture, thrive, while employment , the skills of young people were also promoted through the marketing of different fields.
Marriyum said the 8% withholding tax on distributors and producers was also removed as part of the 2022-23 budget.
There would also be a five-year customs duty exemption on the importation of film and drama machinery, equipment and supplies.
With the Finance Bill 2022, the Customs Act 1969 and the Finance Bill 2018 amended to completely exempt imported equipment for new films and dramas from sales tax and entertainment duties.
The minister said the moves would revive the country’s film industry while restoring Pakistan’s disconnected communication with the world. “Young people would have the opportunity to work in the film industry and new talent would be encouraged.”
She maintained that the promotion of cinema and culture, heritage, theater and fine arts was key to increasing tourism, social diversity and enhancing Pakistan’s culture and identity globally.
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In 2018, the first “film and cultural policy” in the country’s history was approved by the cabinet at the time of PML-N. However, unfortunately, in the past four years it has not been implemented and has not been able to move forward.
The film has now gained industry status by implementing the 2018 film culture policy, she said.
Marriyum was grateful to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail for understanding the importance of cinema and culture in national progress and development.
She also expressed her gratitude for the approval of historic incentives and relief measures for the Pakistani film industry in the 2022-23 budget.