PESHAWAR: Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has demanded inclusion of small and medium enterprises and small-scale industries in the special tax relief package recently announced by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

SCCI chief Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz said in a statement here on Monday that businessmen were affected badly by coronavirus pandemic. He said that government had announced Rs5 billion tax relief package to support the people following coronavirus pandemic.

He termed it a laudable step but said that small manufacturing units and traders community should also be given interest-free loans, tax relief and other incentives up to Rs10 million under the relief package.

Mr Pervaiz said that traders were affected badly owing to the closure of business centres, markets and shops as result of partial lockdown and imposition of Section 144 by the district administration. He said that government should compensate the small industries.

The SCCI chief said reduction of 1.5 per cent in interest rate by State Bank of Pakistan was insufficient to mitigate the sufferings of businessmen and investors. He said that markup rate should be brought down to single digit in the upcoming budget for 2020-21 in the larger interest of traders, industry and economy.

He also demanded two months extension in payment of electricity and gas bills of small industries as well as deferment of loans of commercial institutions worth billions of rupees. He also called for reduction in taxes, especially for small and medium industries and businesses.

Mr Pervaiz urged the government and State Bank of Pakistan to reschedule the loans, which had been disbursed to different business and commercial institutions and bring down markup rate to single digit.

Lauding the decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan for issuance of payment refunds, he said that the decision should be implemented in letter and spirit to ensure timely issuance of payments of refunds to industries, exporters and importers.

He also demanded reduction in electricity and gas tariffs to give boost to industrialisation and generate more employment opportunities in the country.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2020