LAHORE : United Business Group (UBG) Central Chairman and SAARC Chamber Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik Friday said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has assured to address the demands of the business community to accelerate the economic activities and boost export besides launching across the board amnesty scheme to expedite the industrial growth in the country.
In a press statement issued here today, Iftikhar Ali Malik said 17 member high level joint delegation of UBG and FPCCI led by federation President Ghazanfar Bilour called on the Prime Minister last night to discuss the issues related to business community and the premier categorically assured that the government would take all concrete steps to solve their genuine grievances on urgent basis. He said the Prime Minister was also conveyed that the businessmen and industrialists reposed their full confidence in government policies under his dynamic leadership. “Our confidence had been increased further after meeting with the prime minister,” he added.
He said the traders and industrialists were playing a vital role for the promotion of businesses, industries, trade and investments in the country. He said the Prime Minister was focused to extend every possible facility to the investors, industrialists, traders and businessmen.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said they also asked the Prime Minister to announce amnesty package across the board and bring overseers too into domain of amnesty with this precondition that money which will be declared legal through this scheme to be invested only in industrial sector. He said Prime Minister assured them the government would follow this guideline as the essence of this amnesty scheme is to bring maximum people into tax network to enhance development in the country.
The veteran trade leader also said they demanded the government to abolish export development surcharge immediately. He said the export development surcharge was levied on exports as per the EDF Act 1998 and 0.25 percent is being deducted by banks from export proceeds, which is deposited in the federal treasury account. The Prime Minister assured them he would seek suggestions from the concerned departments including Finance and Commerce ministries.
He said they also put forward another demand relating to reducing withholding tax of 1 % into half percent. He also said they asked the Prime Minister to announce export oriented package and the government should honour its pledge to clear pending tax refunds of exporters, without any delay.
“Incentives will not be affective till Prime Minister takes ownership of exports” he added. He said that is a matter of concern for the country that despite GSP Plus window, exports of the country are showing declining trend and related workforce is losing their jobs. The government should adopt pro-export policies and ensure their effective implementation so that country could continue its journey to development and prosperity. He said that exports of country are major source of providing employment and earning foreign exchange for the country but they are under heavy internal and external pressures. Therefore they should be given priorities in solution of their problems so that economic prosperity can be achieved.
He also demanded the government to take concrete steps to check illegal trade through Iran and Afghanistan borders as black economy as smuggling, under invoicing and money laundering continue to damage the economy and discourage investors.
Iftikhar Malik also asked the Prime Minister to give waiver on raw leather material as local investors have been paying between 10 and 25 per cent on textile and leather raw materials imported. “The high taxes pushed up the cost of production and consequently the consumers paid more for the finished products like clothes and shoes,” he added.
He also urged the government to reduce the tariff rates on natural gas and power used by the industry at par with regional rivals to make the country’s export competitive in global market.
Other prominent members of delegation also included SVP Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir,former President federation Zubairl Ahmad Malik, Chairman Co-ordination and Diplomatic Committee of federation Malki Sohial Hussain,Mumtaz Sheikh,Aamir Atta Bajwa and Tariq Haleem etc.
Orignally published by INP