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LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has urged the government to ensure adequate representation of private sector in all important bodies whether it is the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), Indus River System Authority (IRSA) or the exports promotion related divisions.

“Only public-private partnership can make a big breakthrough at the economic front. Therefore, the government should take business community onboard at all economic matters and ensure its representation in government departments,” the LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said in a statement.

LCCI President said that being the major stakeholder of the country, business community should have representation in the parliament and all important bodies but it is not anywhere and being used as a money making machine. He said that how policies conducive for trade and industry can be formulated without participation of the main stakeholder. “Business community can be the most powerful economic force of the government but for this, present regime should take it on board and treat it as partner”, Mian Nauman Kabir said.

He said that POL prices should not be an option to overcome the trade deficit or to bear the huge non-productive expenditure of the state. Likewise, the God-gifted resources like water should not be sacrificed to the political will of a few people. He said that OGRA raises the summary for increase in POL prices and generally the government accepts the proposals. He said that POL is the major raw material and unjustified raises in its prices have increased the cost of doing business. This issue can be controlled if the business community has at least 50 percent representation in OGRA.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that the due representation of the private sector in the public sector bodies will help promote knowledge-based economy, export promotion, increase in tax-to-GDP ratio besides overcoming inefficiency of Public-sector entities, brain-drain, shortage of skilled human resources and low industrial production etc.

The LCCI President said that as compare to the other regional countries, our exports are not up to the mark. He said that our exports are limited to a few merchandise and dependent on a few countries which is the biggest reason of decline in exports. The LCCI President urged the government to conduct market research to find out new destinations for the Pakistani products which are best in the world as far as quality and price is concerned. He said that Pakistani Missions abroad should be duty bound to introduce Pakistani products to the foreign buyers and also ensure dissemination of trade related information so that Pakistan entrepreneurs could avail trade opportunities to the maximum.

“It is time to diversify our businesses and have to add new products to attract maximum foreign buyers for Pakistani products,” the LCCI President added.

He said that trade and Industry is the backbone of the economy as the government generates major chunk of its revenue from this sector therefore it can make a great contribution in turning Pakistan into one of the greatest nations in the world provided due facilitation and an enabling business atmosphere are ensured. He also stressed the need for strengthening of institutional framework for being a prerequisite to economic stability, progress and prosperity.

LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that there are a number of issues that must be tackled on priority the biggest one is how to keep the momentum of growth. The second one is the widening gap between exports and imports that can be contained by reducing import of luxury items.

LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq said that the frequent increases in the prices of energy are making Pakistani products uncompetitive in the international market and Pakistan is loosing the international markets to China, India and even Bangladesh.

The LCCI office-bearers said that the representation of the private sector in the important government departments will not only ensure business-conducive policies but will also reduce burden from the government.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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