KARACHI: The Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, in a bid to resolve outdoor advertising market crisis, will meet the delegation of out door advertisers in next week, it is learnt. ‘The Sindh CM, accepting our request of meeting, has invited our delegation next week, and the association will raise the issues with CM that are being faced by out door advertising industry after the Supreme Court’s decision to remove billboard and hoardings from public property’, representative of Sindh Outdoor Advertising Association (SOAA), Saleem Rajput told Daily Times. Rajput, also a member of standing Committee on Advertising at Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) said that due to negligence and incompetence of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) the out door advertising industry and national exchequer are suffering huge losses as the Pakistan’s largest business conglomerates spend its 35% advertising budget on out door publicity. This sector generates hefty revenue for government in terms of withholding (WHT) and General Sales Taxe (GST). Almost 300 advertising firms and more than ten thousands people are involved in this business having billions of yearly out put, this industry generates the revenue of around Rs 4 billion on account of taxes for exchequer, claimed Rajput. ‘Despite clear orders of SC to remove only illegally placed sign boards, the KMC administration has ordered to remove all hoardings and billboards from private properties’, he added. Moreover, Rajput said that they have proper yearly renewable agreements (paid in heavy advance) with the building owners, where their billboards are placed, and the billboards structures are duly approved by the engineering council. He said illegal SITEs in Karachi / nationwide should be removed instantly, but not the legal SITES as he was off the view that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should be streamlined in order to enable all the stakeholders to continue to earn their livelihood, since we are properly paying heavy GST and WHT on these legal SITEs as per FBR rules and regulations. Rahat Mohammad Ali, President, SOAA said that KMC’s staff is harassing the private outdoor advertisers as they (KMC staff) are running their own advertising companies without paying taxes to the KMC. There are thousands of skilled and unskilled workers are associated with this industry and after the SC’s decision, companies are unable to pay salaries to their staff which may lead to severe unemployment in the city, he added. ‘We request to CM to review our case and direct the administration to follow the orders in letter and spirit and also direct the Advocate General Sindh office to make an effort to safe guard and protect our business in the court of law’, he said. It is to be noted that the SC of Pakistan had put a complete ban on the grant of permission by any authority to install billboard or hoarding on any portion of public place or property in Karachi, ordering the authorities concerned for the umpteenth time to remove all licensed and unlicensed hoarding and signboards from the public properties.