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KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) and former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Zubair Motiwala has fervently appealed to the federal and provincial governments to pay special attention to the woes of Karachi which has largely been ignored by both the governments that resulted in further worsening the already awful infrastructure all over Karachi where the roads, sewerage and rainwater drainage lines have totally wrecked and the city faces severe gas, electricity and water shortages.

Speaking at the 60th Annual General Meeting (AGM), Chairman BMG said that not a single civic service was properly available in Karachi which are usually available in any other cosmopolitan city of the world yet this city continues to contribute 67 percent revenue to the national exchequer while more than 55 percent of the total exports were also proceeding from Karachi.

Vice Chairmen BMG Tahir Khaliq, Haroon Farooki and Jawed Bilwani, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, newly elected President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, Senior Vice President Abdul Rehman Naqi, Vice President Qazi Zahid Hussain, retiring President Shariq Vohra, retiring SVP Saqib Goodluck, retiring VP Shamsul Islam Khan, Chairman Special Committee for Small Traders Majeed Memon, Former Presidents, Managing Committee members and a large number of General Body members attended the AGM.

"Karachi is usually compared with Mumbai but the local Government of Mumbai receives a huge budget of Indian Rs436 billion whereas Karachi, despite being a more complex and widely spread city, receives a meager amount Rs52 billion only," Chairman BMG said and asked, "How is this city going to progress, compete or even survive with such a small budget?"

He particularly stressed the need to construct the Karachi bypass, which must connect Karachi Port with Lyari Expressway and Northern Bypass so that all the heavy vehicles heading towards the upcountry could directly land at the highways without touching the city's roads.

Underscoring the need to modify the ineffective taxation policies which keep the highest earners who pay the highest taxes deprived and distressed, Zubair Motiwala feared that implementation of Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2021 would start from Karachi as it has been observed from time to time that all such laws carrying penalties always start from Karachi. "If Karachi has to pay all the taxes and suffer penalties as well then why Karachi was not receiving development funds in proportion to its contribution", he added while reiterating KCCI's demand to change the term 'under-filers' in the controversial ordinance with 'non-filers'.

Expressing deep concerns over the likely gas crises during this year's winter season, Zubair Motiwala informed that the Karachi Chamber has invited Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar at a symposium on Gas Crises in which experts will also be invited to share their point of view and a presentation highlighting all the facts and history will also be delivered with an intention to explore and agree upon a practical mechanism for efficiently dealing with gas crises during this year's winter season. "Statistics of the last 10 years clearly indicate that gas demand by industries in Karachi remains stagnant in between 385 to 400 mmcfd yet it was these industries which suffer the most during winter season, not because of increase in their demand but due to rise in demand by domestic consumers in Sindh and Baluchistan."

He said that 10 million jobs declared by Prime Minister Imran Khan cannot be provided by the government alone but it was the private sector of Karachi which, being the engine economic growth would generate all these jobs which will only be possible when Karachi is fed adequately and all its issues were given special attention.

Commenting on the miseries and hardships being faced since the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic, he said that small traders, shopkeepers, restaurants, marriage halls and saloons etc. have suffered grave losses due to frequent lockdowns and were still battling for survival.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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