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LAHORE: With a view to help grow the businesses in post-corona economic strategy the government will have to take solid measures in the upcoming federal budget 2021-22 to strengthen the industry, especially the SMEs, to save the livelihood of millions of workers associated with the small industries.

The government will have to make a visible reduction in taxes in the budget to help businesses, particularly the SME sector, as Pakistan needs millions of jobs annually. These recommendations were put forward by All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Syed Maaz Mahmood in a joint meeting of various trade and industrial sectors held here to review the budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year of 2021-22, urging the finance ministry to make focus on greater relief to the documented and registered SMEs.

Unveiling the budget proposals, the APBF President said that the forum has submitted comprehensive proposals for the upcoming federal budget with main objective to bring liberal investment policy, infrastructure development, broadening of tax base and creating jobs through industrialization. The budget proposals were compiled in an unbiased and transparent manner, incorporating feedback received from business community on hosts of sectors from all over the country.

He called for introducing soft policies for SMEs including special financing schemes where they can get credit at low mark-up rates with no collateral requirement. Moreover, there should be a holiday for all taxes and levies for five years for the newly-registered companies, especially SMEs. There should also be exemption from audit for the newly registered SMEs in this period.

He said with a view to save the economy from the impacts of the slowdown due to the COVID-19, the government should announce special incentives for a cash-strapped small and medium industry, which represents more than 90 percent of around 3.2 million business enterprises in Pakistan, contributing 40 percent to the GDP, employing more than 80 percent of non-agricultural workforce, and generating 25 percent of export earnings.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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