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KARACHI: Business and industrial community welcomed the relief measures announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan, particularly the cut in petroleum prices by Rs10 per litre and power tariff by Rs5 per unit, stating that the business community was delighted to see all these relief measures which were need of the hour, however the government must also adopt conservation measures to absorb the cost-impact of Rs237 billion during four months.

Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala commented that keeping in view the high trade deficit and the prices of Brent Oil hovering above $100 per barrel along with heavy imports, Pakistan was going to face a very difficult situation therefore, the government has to adopt conservation measures.

“Petroleum consumption has to be curtailed at any cost by adopting the even-odd number strategy wherein vehicles bearing even numbers should be allowed to get re-fuelled on day one and those vehicles with odd numbers be provided fuel the next day or timings of petrol pumps should be restricted whereas the fuel quota to government employees must also be reduced which would bring down fuel consumption to a certain extent”, he added.

Zubair Motiwala also appreciated 100 percent exemption from paying taxes to IT Sector and also the assurance that no questions will be asked if anyone wishes to set up industries or invest in the sector along with five-year tax holiday to overseas Pakistanis intending to invest in industries or undertaking joint ventures. “These measures will pay fruits by restoring business community’s confidence and promote industrialization all over the country,” he added.

He further stressed that it was high time that the Prime Minister must also give attention to the issues emerging after the announcement of Supplementary Finance Bill which was likely to hinder PM’s relief measures as 17 percent Sales Tax imposed on import of solar equipment was a gross mistake which was discouraging green energy as an alternative for fuel.

“It is really necessary that we must encourage alternate energy including solar and wind energy with a view to save fuel and bring down the heavy import bill,” he said, adding that the imposition of 17 percent Sales Tax on LED Lights has to be waived as these lights consume lesser energy than the conventional lights.

Motiwala said that the business community was grateful to the government for announcing the Textile Policy but delays in taking the decision about Duty Drawback on Local Taxes & Levies (DLTL) was creating confusion amongst exporters hence, it has to be taken into consideration and announced on priority basis.

President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Muhammad Idrees also reiterated that top priority should be to conserve petroleum products so that PM’s relief measures at a cost of Rs237 billion for four months continue without any problem.

“We fully understand the economic condition of the country and it was heartening to see that the government, despite so many challenges, has dared to provide relief which is really encouraging so we would like to pledge to work really hard and try our best to increase the exports”.

While appealing the government to re-examine taxes imposed in Supplementary Finance Bill, President KCCI advised to relinquish 17 percent sales tax imposed on formula milk for infants as it was terribly hurting the common man.

He pointed out that the gas issue being suffered by the industries of has to be resolved on top priority as after going through terrible winter season, gas supply situation has still not normalized at the industrial zones of Karachi where gas was not available at required quantum and pressure.

“This serious issue requires PM’s attention as if the gas supply situation stays unresolved, it would retard growth of not only the textiles sector but also all other industries,” he added..

Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) Patron-in-Chief S M Muneer welcomed the reduction in prices of petroleum products and electricity by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the Nation.

S M Muneer said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has reciprocated the aspirations of the people, and reduced the prices of petroleum products at a time when the country and the nation were in dire need of it.

He welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision, saying that the war between Russia and Ukraine had pushed international oil prices to a seven-year high. In such a situation, everyone was of the opinion that the prices of petroleum products would increase further in Pakistan as well.

The business community was also worried that a further increase in petroleum products would ruin the business. He said that the government had won the hearts of the people by taking timely decisions.

KATI President Salman Aslam termed the decision of the Prime Minister as the best example of people-friendliness and patriotism. He said that the Prime Minister had saved the country from a major crisis while the dangers of another world war were looming globally.

Salman Aslam welcomed the Prime Minister for stopping the increase in electricity tariffs and appealed for further reduction in electricity and gas prices so as to reduce the cost of production.

President KATI further said that at the same time, effective arrangements should be made to reduce the prices of food items so that the fruits of the relief provided by the Prime Minister could reach the common man.

President of United Business Group, Zubair Tufail, Zafar Bakhtawari, Secretary General other Khalid Tawab, Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, Hanif Gohar have highly appreciated the Prime Minister economic relief package and declared it a historical relief package.

While cherishing the package they said that relief package would uplift the economic activities and give a great relief to inflation-hit masses of Pakistan, significantly contribute in investment opportunities, restore the confidence of the business community and create job opportunities.

Zubair Tufail said that the bold step taken by Prime Minister in the form of economic package which include reducing the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs. 10 per liter and electricity by Rs. 5 per unit has given a great relief to masses particularly to business community which was already confronted with economic challenges in the post Covid era.

The economic package will soon witness economic activities flourishing across Pakistan and our export will further grow which is the basic need of our country.

The other incentives of the package were also lauded by UBG which include major tax incentive for the information technology and industrial sectors, internship program for the unemployed graduates, educational scholarship and interest free loans for youth for start-ups, farmers for agriculture and low income groups to construct their houses and tax holiday for five years for overseas Pakistanis for investments in the country. All measures under the package will take out the large number of poor masses from poverty which Prime Minister has always talked about.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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