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KARACHI: A high-level delegation of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) led by Businessmen Group (BMG) chairman Zubair Motiwala held a meeting with Chairman Senate of Pakistan Sadiq Sanjrani in Islamabad to discuss the overall economic situation of the country and also KCCI’s proposals for Federal Budget 2022-23.

KCCI delegation, which also comprised of BMG vice chairmen Haroon Farooki, Anjum Nisar, Jawed Bilwani, BMG general secretary AQ Khalil and KCCI president Muhammad Idrees, highlighted the overall challenges being faced by the business and industrial community of Karachi which continues to stay resilient in an extremely challenging economic environment.

The delegation, while presenting KCCI budget proposals to chairman Senate, hoped that the invaluable suggestions given in this important document will be incorporated in the forthcoming budget for fiscal year 2022-23.

They particularly highlighted that the industrial community of Karachi was suffering badly due to poor infrastructure along with severe gas, water and electricity shortages which were having a negative impact on the exports hence, the lawmakers have to play their due role with a view to ensure political and economic stability in the country otherwise, the ongoing crises would worsen further and may push the country to the point of no return.

Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, while appreciating the efforts being made by KCCI for creating a pro-business and pro-economy environment, assured that the government will extend full support and cooperation to the business community of Karachi so that the hardship being faced by them could be minimized.

Subsequently, KCCI delegation also attended a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum chaired by Muhammad Abdul Qadir and later on, met Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Asim Ahmed along with other senior officials and also held a separate meeting with Secretary Commerce Muhammad Sualeh Ahmad Faruqui.

During the meeting of Senate Standing Committee for Gas/ Petroleum, KCCI’s delegation informed the Senators about the ongoing injustices being done to the industries of Karachi and particularly condemned SSGC’s remarks wherein the exporters were termed as thieves.

Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala demanded that the SSGC must apologize to exporters for using such shameful remarks which was also endorsed by many senators present at the meeting.

Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala and Vice Chairman BMG Jawed Bilwani also demanded that instead of prioritizing gas to domestic sector, uninterrupted gas supply at adequate pressure to industries must be given top priority whereas the domestic sector should be provided gas via bousers/ cylinders or at least they should be charged full gas price as applicable to other sectors. Where in the world the residential consumers are treated on top priority, they questioned, adding that natural gas should be provided on economic considerations to compete in the world.

Senator Abdul Qadir, in his remarks, stated that the local industries have to be incentivised and promoted in order to efficiently deal with the ongoing economic crises and widening trade deficit.

Senate Standing Committee also discussed the relevant rules that allow the oil marketing companies to market octane blending component.

Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik, who was also present at the Standing Committee’s meeting, informed that the Petroleum Division only regulates those products which were widely being consumed by the public including the RON 92 but regulating HOBC 97 do not falls under the Ministry’s domain. Musadik Malik further assured to resolve the gas crises being faced by the industries of Karachi on top priority.

Moreover, KCCI delegation held a meeting with Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail, Chairman FBR Asim Ahmed, Additional Secretary Commerce Ahmed Mujtaba Memon, Member Customs Tariq Huda, Member IR Policy Afaq Qureshi and Member Customs Policy Surraiya Butt to thoroughly discuss KCCI’s Budget Proposals for Fiscal Year 2022-23. They appreciated Finance Minister’s on the spot instructions on KCCI’s request to FBR to immediately issue clarification about SRO 598 which would certainly ensure smooth import of raw materials without any hurdles.

Later, KCCI delegation, during a meeting with Secretary Commerce Muhammad Sualeh Farooqui, expressed deep concerns over the dilapidated state of Karachi Expo Centre and demanded that the air-conditioning system of the Expo centre must be repaired at the earliest. In addition to discussing the situation emerging after the issuance of SRO 598 and giving suggestions for rectifying numerous issues, they also requested to provide funds from Export Development Fund (EDF) for setting up NUTECH University in Karachi.

President KCCI Muhammad Idrees thanked the leadership of Businessmen Group for holding high-profile meetings in Islamabad to discuss numerous issues particularly the issues arising due to SRO 598 that led to issuance of the desperately needed clarification which has satisfied a large segment of industrialists.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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