LAHORE: A consensus ‘Charter of Economy’ should be developed and followed by all parties and governments as it is need of the hour, Deputy-Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla said on Monday.
Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), he insisted that economic policies must not change according to the wishes of political parties as no country can move ahead without a stable economy.
He claimed to have received many requests from businessmen from all over the country who have been harassed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which should not be allowed to take action against the business community.
The businessmen and industrialists are already dealing with other departments including the FBR, FIA, SECP and others hence, there is no need for the NAB, he said. Instead, NAB should facilitate the business community by opening up a helpdesk at LCCI as done in Islamabad Chamber, he added.
Mr Mandviwalla admitted that issue of refunds was hitting the business hard. While calling for an out of the box solution, the deputy chairman said that system of refunds should be fully automatic on the pattern of developed countries. “I would take up the matter with the finance minister,” he promised.
Mr Mandviwalla said that all export-oriented industries should be zero-rated. The existing volume of export is a matter of concern. Pakistan’s exports are far less than even Bangladesh and Vietnam despite our ability to take them to $50 billion.
He said that budget process starts from January and budget proposals of business community should be reached to the government, FBR and Senate by the end of February so that these can be discussed and be made part of budget document.
LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah in his address said that our industry is trapped in a cycle of negative growth rates and stagnation of exports in the last few years. Industrial growth rate was negative 2.64 per cent in last year while our exports are stuck around $21bn.
Mr Misbah demanded that the incentives which are currently provided to the five-zero rated sectors should also be provided to the other export sectors of the economy eg engineering, pharmaceuticals, rice, halal meat and processed food etc.
He said that there is a dire need of tariff rationalisation to give boost to the industry. He proposed that all the raw materials not manufactured locally must attract zero Custom duties.
Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2021