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KARACHI: Senate deputy chairman Saleem Mandviwalla on Saturday said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should confine its actions to the public sector and should refrain from taking action against the business community.

“I received many applications from all over the country from businessmen who have been victimized by NAB which should not be allowed to take action against the business community as the businessmen and industrialists were already dealing with other departments including the FBR, the FIA, the SECP and others. Hence, there is no need for NAB which should keep its activities confined to the public sector and politicians only,” he said.

Instead, NAB should facilitate the business community of Karachi by setting up a help desk at the KCCI as had been done in Islamabad chamber, he said at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)

He advised the business community of Karachi to bring all their issues to his notice so they could better understand the problems and subsequently take them up with relevant ministers including Asad Umer and others.

Saleem Mandviwalla said that the business community would have to play the lead role by participating in all the affairs of the government as it was these businesspeople and industrialists who knew the ground realities and faced all types of issues.

Responding to concerns expressed over the dilapidated infrastructure in Site area, Saleem Mandviwalla said that it was totally incorrect to say that the Sindh government had been sitting idle for the last 12 years as it had taken various steps from time to time to improve the infrastructure of Karachi, but the situation was not 100 percent okay, and, therefore, the business community of Karachi chamber should join hands with the Sindh government under the public-private partnership mode to improve the infrastructure of not only of Site area but also of other industrial zones.

On the problems being faced by the indenters on account of the sales tax on services, he said he would summon the FBR chairman as well as the SRB

chairman to his office to discuss and resolve this matter.

“I am ready to fully cooperate with the business community. I am just a phone call away and available in my office to listen to the grievances and go out of my way to resolve the same,” he added.

He said that chambers around the world played an important role in government affairs, but in Pakistan, no governmental role had been given to the chambers to play.

The activities of the chambers must not remain confined to giving proposals on budgets and other economic policies only but they must also participate in all the meetings and even in political activities as nobody knew the ground realities better than the business community, and it was these businesspeople who go through all kinds of troubles due to poor policies.

BMG chairman Zubair Motiwala, while highlighting the miseries and hardships being faced by the business community due to the dilapidated infrastructure in Karachi, stated that this was not just an issue of Site area alone but the state of infrastructure in all the industrial zones was awful.

“To improve the infrastructure of Site area, PC-1 has already been approved and an amount of Rs1 billion was allocated for construction of 23 roads but to date, the development work has not commenced yet,” he said, adding that the dreadful state of Site area can be gauged from the terrible state of Site Limited which was responsible for improving the infrastructure of Site but its own condition was terrible.

He requested the Senate deputy chairman to pay a visit to the Site area and also to the office of Site Limited so that he could personally gauge the ground realities and see what was happening at Site Limited.

While appreciating the release of refund claims through FASTER system, he said that no matter how efficient the system was, refunds of Rs170 billion would remain stuck up, creating severe liquidity crunch for the exporters. “We need a level-playing field. Therefore, the government will have to look into the possibility of reintroducing the zero-rating facility which was badly needed by the exporters to stay competitive otherwise the growth being witnessed nowadays, particularly in the textile sector, will not be sustainable,” he added.

He said that if Vietnam could manage exports of US$37 billion in a month and if Bangladesh was looking forward to improving its textile exports to US$50 billion by 2023, then Pakistan also had the potential to improve its exports to US$100 billion, but that could only be achieved if the business and industrial community was provided with a level-playing field and practical steps were taken to ensure ease of doing business.

KCCI president Shariq Vohra, in his short remarks, said that the federal and provincial governments would have to pay attention to the issues of Karachi and they must take steps for improving the dilapidated infrastructure of all industrial zones of Karachi.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021