LCCI President Kashif Anwar recommends local currency trade to mitigate foreign exchange crisis


LAHORE – In a special talk with Editor-in-Chief of Pakistan Observer Faisal Zahid Malik, President of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kashif Anwar said that it has been 100 years since Lahore Chamber came into existence and it is an honour for him that he is the 100th President.

He said that recently he has presented concrete and comprehensive proposals for industry, trade and economy while addressing the meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue of the Senate. Kashif Anwar highlighted the improving position of foreign reserves and recommended measures such as local currency trade and barter trade mechanisms to mitigate the ongoing foreign exchange crisis.

To reduce the cost of doing business, Anwar emphasized the need to align Pakistan’s interest rates with regional economies. He also urged the government to lower the refinance rate, introduce soft policies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and provide special financing schemes with low markup rates and no collateral requirements.

Mr. Kashif while lauding services of Zahid Malik (late) in the field of Journalism said that everyone knows him for his unprecedented struggles to promote fair journalism in Pakistan.

He said that his sons Mr. Faisal Zahid Malik and Gohar Zahid Malik are carrying the legacy of their father due to which today Pakistan Observer is widely known among the serious circles of society. The LCCI President emphasized on the importance of reducing the cost of doing business, particularly energy costs and land expenses, to promote industrialization and private sector growth in line with regional economies.

In order to enhance tax compliance and documentation, he proposed the introduction of a declaration scheme.

This scheme would encourage individuals to bring undeclared foreign reserves, local assets, and wealth into the economic system, injecting liquidity into the economy. President LCCI stressed the importance of raising awareness among non-filers about the benefits of entering the tax net. He suggested expanding the tax base by bringing individuals with industrial or commercial electricity or gas connections into the tax net. He recommended charging a 25% income tax on the bills (electricity/gas) of non-filers and emphasized the need for a National Tax Number (NTN) for new commercial electricity/gas connections.

The LCCI President also called for the reduction of fines, penalties, and surcharges imposed on taxpayers. He suggested rationalizing penalties based on revenue loss and adjusting determined advance tax against pending refunds.