Mohammad Arshad Islamabad
The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin has welcomed the trust and confidence shown by the business community in Pakistan over the economic policies of the present government.
The recently conducted Business Confidence Index (BCI) Survey- Wave 20 by OICCI has indi-cated that the overall BCI has increased by 59% and stands at +9% (from -50% during May 2020) and +34% (from -74% in May, 2020) for OICCI mem-bers; as positive perceptions on several aspects have pushed back some negative macro-economic factors during the last survey.
The main drivers leading towards the dramatic in-crease in business confidence are trust in current government’s policies, better law and order situation and the relaxation in lockdowns.
Respondents be-lieve that the next 6 months will be even better than the previous 6 months with higher sales volume, profits and return on investment.
The survey was conducted in 9 major cities of the country and was participated by manufacturers (40%), service pro-viders (35%) and wholesalers/ retailers (25%).
Meanwhile talking to a delegation of Pakistan Va-naspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA) and Finance Minister expressed his concern over the rise in the prices of edible oil/ghee in domestic markets over the period of time.
The Chairman PVMA briefed the Finance Minister about the international hike in prices of palm and soyabean oils particularly during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The international prices kept fluctuating between the range of $1100 – 1257 per ton and the domestic market drives rates from the prevailing international prices and the dollar value. The exchange rate also has a significant impact on edible oil prices in the country, he added.
While taking stock of the situa-tion, the Finance Minister urged PVMA to adopt market-based solutions and bring down prices in the domestic market in line with the international price trend.
If there is a slight dip in the international market, it must be reflected in the domestic prices so that the consumers get relief amid highly fluctu-ating edible oil market.
The Finance Minister stressed the need to evaluate the whole situation rationally and urged PVMA to come up with sustainable pricing mechanism in collaboration with the Ministry of Industries & Pro-duction and FBR.
The Finance Minister directed Chairman FBR to assure expeditious disbursement of refunds to the importers of vegetable ghee/oil to ensure availabil-ity of funds.
Besides, he constituted a committee comprising representatives of PVMA, Secretary M/o Industries and Production and Chairman FBR to workout arrangement for streamlining collection of sales tax and a predictable pricing formula.
The Chairman PVMA assured full cooperation in pro-viding maximum relief to the domestic consumers by absorbing international pressure on prices in the edible oil sector.