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LAHORE: With focus on attracting both foreign and local investment, Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday unveiled an incentives’ package for promotion of industrial sector. The industrial package includes incentives for investment in small and medium industries, as well as, investment for restoration of sick units. The package includes decreasing tax rate by widening the tax base, five-year tax holiday to overseas Pakistanis and no questions will be asked for investments in the industrial sector.

Announcing the industrial package unveiled at a ceremony here at Governor’s House on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said the package will help strengthen the country’s export-oriented industrial and manufacturing base. The previous governments had been against wealth creation and devised policies that were against profit-making, which he termed as a ‘socialist mindset’.

The PM said along with local businessmen, we are also inviting the overseas Pakistani entrepreneurs to invest in the country’s industrial sector. Besides the expatriates, the local businessmen in the joint venture will also enjoy five-year tax holiday with no questions.

Emphasising the growth of industrial and manufacturing sector for wealth creation and development of the country, he said the present government’s two-pronged industrial policy focused on the promotion of SMEs through improved regulations, ease of doing business and the revival of sick industrial units.

“Lacks of long-term planning, shortage of dollars, less or no growth in exports force the country to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” the PM remarked.

PM Imran announces industrial package with eyes on foreign exchange inflow

Imran Khan recalled his 20 years back conversation with Malaysian leader Mahatir Muhammad, who told how his country, which used to produce only tin and rubber materials, achieved US $ 80 billion annual exports after he promoted the cottage industry and SMEs to produce electronic goods.

He stressed the need for growth in Information Technology (IT) sector and said that the present government was incentivizing the IT sector, which had a lot of potential to take the country forward in terms of exports. He said that as against India’s US $ 140 billion annual IT exports, Pakistan was just hovering around $ 4 billion per annum - 70% growth achieved during the present government. Since Pakistan stood second in the world in terms of young population, it was important to promote IT sector. For the first time, the present government came up with an IT policy, he added.

Terming economic self-sufficiency necessary for a free and independent foreign policy, the premier said foreign remittances showed a record rise due to incentives given to overseas Pakistanis ‘who are our national asset and we are removing hurdles in their way to make investment in the country.’

The PM also said the industrial policy would divert the money lying in plots and not being productively used in investment in the country’s industries, ending unnecessary checks and creating ease for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and incentivising investment in sick industries.

Presenting the salient features of the new industrial package, Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said that under the package tax rate will be decreased by widening the tax base. He said that overseas Pakistanis will be given a five years exemption for investment in Pakistan and that no questions will be asked for investments in the industrial sector. He said that investors keen in revival of sick industries can also benefit from this package.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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