Businessmen not satisfied over govt’s financial package

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The business community expressing dissatisfaction over the financial package announced by the government to cope with the challenges posed by coronavirus, has said that it must have taken more steps to give maximum relief to the poverty-stricken people.
“However, we appreciate the PM’s incentives for the export industry, demanding to extend the same benefits to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which was being affected seriously in the wake of coronavirus pandemic”, observed President Friends of Economic and Business Reforms (FEBR) Kashif Anwar.
In a statement issued here on Monday, Kashif Anwar said that the government should have brought down the prices of the petroleum products to at least Rs80 per litre by announcing cut of Rs30 per liter to provide some visible relief to the people. The current relief was not enough keeping in view of magnitude of the crisis, he added.
It is to be noted that the price of petroleum products has been slashed by just Rs15 as a breather for the public under a complete lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan. According to a notification issued by the federal finance ministry, after the cost reduction, petrol is available for Rs96.58 per litre. High diesel costs Rs107.25, while light diesel is being sold for Rs62.51 per litre.
The president FEBR lamented that the government last month had jacked up the petroleum levy on POL products through consumption of two major products of petrol and diesel. The petroleum levy on diesel and petrol was increased, which is very unfortunate.
He suggested that the government should have waived off the utility bills for local industry as making the manufacturers pay the gas and electricity bills in installments would ultimately add up to their financial burden.
Kashif Anwar said that keeping in view of rising number of coronavirus cases the government should provide protective gears to the medical staff and doctors besides taking steps to establish laboratories at least at the divisional level to conduct the tests of the suspected patients. He said that the power consumers who were using up to 300 units were not given any concession, which is a cheating with the poor consumers.
The business community leader asked the PM to extend exporters incentive to also the SMEs sector. He said that the small industries and traders had closed down their businesses in the province and were facing immense financial losses amid outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. He demanded of the government to include SMEs in the relief package. He urged the government and the State Bank of Pakistan to reschedule loans disbursed to different business and commercial institutions besides bringing down the markup rate to a single digit.