LAHORE: Textile exporters and manufacturers, commerce and industry chambers, retailers and other businesses have called the annual federal budget FY 2022-23 a good and balanced one in the difficult time and urged the government to also give details about rationalization of tax, energy tariff and other proposals as soon as possible.

“It is a good thing that the government has decided to tax the non-productive sectors, especially the real estate, as it will not only give a boost to the existing industry but also attract those investing in the property to come ahead and invest in the industry,” All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman Rahim Nasir told Dawn on Friday.

One more important thing discussed and proposed in the budget is the rationalisation of the tax (import duty) on the polyester fibre and yarn and the related raw material. Currently, he said, the duty is too high (17 percent in total on Polyester Fibre, over 20 percent on Polyester Yarn and 5 percent on the raw material. “We had proposed the government to reduce this tax to five percent on fiber and yarn and three percent on raw material. If this import duty is rationalized as per our proposals, it would be a great service to the export industry,” Mr Nasir explained.

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Patron-in-Chief Khurram Mukhtar thanked the government for proposing a competitive energy tariff for the export industry and immediate clearance of the DLTL.

“But we want some clarity from the government regarding the DLTL’s clearance through bonus vouchers and the competitive energy tariff,” he added. He hailed the government’s approach for revival of ravaged economy and ease of doing business. Measures announced in the budget would help set a proper direction for the national economy to flourish in the days to come as well as ameliorate a lot of poor segments of society. “The economic indicators would show an upward trend and GDP growth improve significantly with better remittances,” he added.According to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the government presented a good budget in difficult economic conditions.“Our budget proposals have been accepted in the budget. These included small retailers to be taxed at a fixed amount (Rs3,000 to Rs10,000 as final tax) and collected with utility bills, adjusting withholding tax for import of raw material, sales tax holiday for local and imported solar panels, reversal of sales tax on tractors, agriculture equipment, wheat, canola and other grains, etc,” said Mian Nauman Kabir while, along with other LCCI office bearers, speaking to Dawn. “We demand that soybean seed and grand-parent poultry also be given tax exemptions,” he sought.

However, the LCCI president said as usual the federal budget is in deficit and it has not mentioned how this would be handled. “We fear the government would opt for borrowing that would aggravate the economic conditions,” he said.

The Federal of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry termed the establishment of a dispute resolution mechanism for both domestic and foreign investors, increasing tax on windfall gains, banking companies from 39% to 42%, 1 and 2 percent tax on withholding tax on credit card payments by filers and non-filers respectively, removal of customs duties on imports of agricultural machinery, GST exemptions on tractor, agri equipment, seeds of wheat, canola, sunflower, rice, maize, rationalization of tariffs on artificial fibre, a special tax on higher income, Rs40 billion DLTL clearance, etc, as good steps.

“However, no considerable relief has been provided to integrate retailers. Moreover, the removal of regulatory duty has been partially fulfilled. The condition of providing CNIC by buyers on sales of goods has not been removed. Moreover, withholding tax has not been reduced between 0-1%.,” FPCCI Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh told reporters.

The Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) has also declared the budget 2022-23 a balanced and comprehensive despite the critical economic situation and hoped that it would not only stabilise national economy on a solid and sustained basis but also provide much-needed relief to the neglected and deprived segments of society.

The FCCI said the government has announced reasonable relief for the poorest segments of society and the business community would also play its due role in this noble cause.

“Since loadshedding has inflicted severe blows to the economy in addition to creating problems for the commoners, the government has proposed tangible measures to enhance power generation to eliminate the load shedding,” the chamber said in a statement. It said reserving 25% quota in financing for females, payment of Rs40 billion refund claims of DLTL and sales tax refund to the pharmaceutical sector in addition to cutting down withholding tax at the distribution levels are good steps.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2022

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