LAHORE: The irrational levy of 0.9 percent Punjab infrastructure Development Cess (PIDC) slashed Rs398.78 billion Punjab revenue within three years resulting shifting of imports clearance from Lahore, Sialkot and Faisalabad dry ports to Karachi dry ports to avoid additional financial burden on ease of doing business.
It was disclosed on Tuesday by President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman United Business Group Iftikhar Ali Malik while talking to 10 members importers delegation jointly led by former FPCCI Vice Presidents Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Ch Zahid Iqbal Arain.
Demanding immediate repeal of PIDC act to accelerate the economic activities in the province and restore the confidence of business community, he said the black act was enacted by PML (N) government in 2015 without taking stakeholders into confidence and realising its cancerous impact on economy which ultimately dampened business activities in the province forcing importers to take refuge in Karachi dry port against PIDC as such type of anti-business cess is not imposed in Sindh.
Iftikhar Ali Malik seeking direct intervention of Prime Minister Imran Khan and CM Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar termed it a anti-business, clear negation of their vivid economic vision and altogether contrary to PTI manifesto which needs to be revoked forthwith to bail out business community and importers. He said the act has adversely created its impact on business volumes at Dry Ports in Punjab which resulted in considerable diversion of tax revenues away from the province and hampered the businesses of clearing agents, transportation companies and other allied services that provide sizeable employment.
“Abolishing this cess will stimulate our economic revival and restore the image of Punjab as a major commercial hub,” he added. Mian Aziz Rehman Chan informed, on the other side, revenue started taking a steep dip from Rs483.788 billion in 2017-18 to Rs408.051 billion in 2018-19, which now has crossed Rs295.219 mark of fiscal 2019-20. He lamented that following shift of trading hustle and bustle to Karachi overburdening its ports resulting in inordinate delay of clearance.
Chaudhary Zahid Iqbal Arain said importers in Punjab prefer to get their consignments cleared from Karachi and deliver those directly to their respective warehouses in Punjab to avoid additional financial burden to compete global markets. He said unfortunately during period under review thousands of labourers were also jobless besides registering alarming decrease in revenue of three dry ports.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021