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Businessmen term budget ‘disappointing’

June 03, 2012

ISLAMABAD, June 2: The business community of the twin cities has in general expressed disappointment over the last budget of the incumbent government on the grounds that it failed to meet their expectations.

The traders, businessmen and even industrialists of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have said the budget remained the traditional rhetoric as witnessed in the country and there was no specific focus in resolving the real issues.

However, Malik Sohail, representing the business community of the country has lauded the federal budget 2012-13 on the grounds that there was no new tax in the budget which would prove to be a breathing space for industrial growth during the year.

“As it has been assured to us that there will be no supplementary or mini-budget during the year, it is hoped that the industries can focus on enhancing their productivity,” said Malik Sohail, vice president Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).

However, the energy crisis continued to dominate the worries of the business community including that of Mr Sohail who said the government needed to focus more on resolving serious electricity shortfall.

Unlike, the FPCCI leader, the local business leadership was more aggressive at hitting out the government after the budget presentation.

President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Yassar Sakhi Butt said that despite being in power for five years the economic managers of the country presented a budget that was not clear.

“There is nothing for consideration in the budget for the industry and trading community,” he said.

He further said the allocations for water and power needed to be much more than what has been done in the budget.

“If we do not have money to generate electricity then there is a need to improve revenue collections and for that we have been telling the government to increase tax base by including more sectors and non-filers in the tax net,” president ICCI said.

The disappointment among the business community seemed to have its origin in the high expectations and hopes they had pinned on the federal budget 2012-13.

“They have been making tall claims about the friendly budget in the last year of people’s government,” said Asad Mashhadi, former president Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, “but there is nothing new and, the worst of all, there is no policy to contain the looming crises faced by the country.”

Traders have complained the policy makers did not have any knowledge of ground realities.

“We cannot eat the words like ‘people’s government’ and ‘democracy’ – all these things are for betterment of masses,” said Ajmal Baloch, leader of trading community in Islamabad, “Look at the prices of bananas and plums – now with inflation at such a high level how can we expect the masses to spend on other non-food items.”

He said with reduced spending power at the customers end the businesses are bound to suffer and the government has presented no plan to generate economic activity.

A Reporter adds: Traders of the capital were disappointed after they found no short-term solution to power loadshedding in the budget.

This was stated by the organiser of Traders Action Committee, Ajmal Baloch during a public meeting held at Aabpara Market.

He said that at present the loadshedding was their main concern because they could not meet their orders within deadlines, which had reduced their income to such an extent that they could not even pay rents of their shops.

He also appealed to the Capital Development Authority to allot plots to traders in residential sectors and announce a colony for traders.