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LAHORE: The business community on Friday termed the federal budget 2022-23 in the prevailing scenario as balanced, growth and export oriented with a basket of attractive package of incentives to accelerate the economic activities across the country.

President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Irfan Iqbal Sheikh appreciated the measures announced by the government in the proposed budget 2022-23. He appreciated the reduction in a number of withholding taxes and removal of With Holding Tax (WHT) from producers and distributors. However, FPCCI’s proposal of fixing WHT within a range of 0-1 percent across the board was partially accepted.

He was addressing the press conference along with the regional chairman FPCCI Nadeem Qureshi and former chairman FPCCI Mian Anjum Nisar.

Irfan also welcomed the budget’s philosophy to promote agriculture and export-oriented industries. The establishment of a Dispute Resolution Mechanism for both domestic and foreign investors is quite welcoming. Government must ensure its implementation in an effective manner.

While talking on Tax on Windfall Gains he said increase on tax on banking companies from 39 percent to 42 percent is appreciable (including super tax) adding that withholding tax on Credit Card payments 1 percent for filers and 2 percent for non-filers, adjustable are also favourable as it would discourage the outflow of foreign reserves.

He appreciated removal of customs duties on imports of agricultural machinery. GST Exemptions on tractor, agri equipment, seeds of wheat, canola, sunflower, rice, maize and rationalisation of tariffs on artificial fibre will promote the textile industry further. He said the government had accepted the proposal of sales tax exemption on imported solar panels and local supplies. The government’s decision of clearance of DLTL on an immediate basis is also appreciable.

Meanwhile, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mian Nauman Kabir said the government has presented a good budget in difficult economic conditions.

While addressing a press conference along with Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Ateeq said that the LCCI Budget proposals have been accepted in the budget. The LCCI President said that small retailers to be taxed a fixed amount (Rs3000 to Rs10000 as final tax) and will be collected with utility bills, withholding tax for import of raw material to be made adjustable, sales tax holiday for local and imported solar panels, sales tax reversed for tractors, agriculture equipment, wheat, canola and other grains are good measures. He said that soybean seed and grand parent poultry should also be given tax exemptions.

However, the LCCI President said that as usual the Federal Budget is in deficit and it has not mentioned how this would be handled. He feared that the government would opt for borrowing that would aggravate the economic conditions. He said that around Rs4000 billion have been allocated for debt servicing that shows how much the economy is paying to the debts.

He said that one of the best ways to reduce the budget deficit is to promote economic growth. He said that high economic growth is the finest way to reduce the budget deficit because it would also enhance the government revenues.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that a revenue collection target of Rs7004 billion has been set with an increase of Rs1400 billion as compared to the previous year. It has not been mentioned that whether new sources will be find out other than the existing taxpayers will be burdened.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that withholding tax on property transfer will give a rise to the inflation. He said that special attention should be given to the Information Technology to boost the exports of this sector to 5 billion dollars.

He said that the LCCI budget proposals have been accepted. The government should take measures to reduce POL products consumption. He said that no details have been given for the ‘documentation of economy’.

LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that the custom duty exemption has been given on more than 30 active pharmaceutical ingredients that is a good step. He said that Regulatory Duty on the raw materials of other industries should also be abolished to make them competitive.

Vice President Haris Ateeq welcomed progressive tax regime. He said that the government is going to introduce a fixed tax scheme for the traders that should be discussed with the stakeholders.

He said that the indirect tax would go up and no incentives have been given for SMEs, export-oriented industries and no scheme has been announced for import substitution.

Former LCCI Presidents Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Shahzad Ali Malik, Abdul Basit, Almas Hyder, former Senior Vice Presidents Ali Hussam Asghar, Khawaja Khawar Rashid, former Vice Presidents Zeeshan Khalil, Mian Zahid Jawaid and Executive Committee Members were also present on the occasion

President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik Friday termed the federal budget 2022-23 in the prevailing scenario as balanced, growth and export oriented with a basket of attractive package of incentives to accelerate the economic activities across the country.

Commenting on the federal budget, he hailed the epoch making historic reforms for ease of doing business. He said that the remarkable measures announced in the budget would help set a proper direction of the national economy to flourish in the days to come as well as ameliorate a lot of poor segments of the society.

He said economic indicators would show an upward trend and GDP growth improve significantly with better remittances.

He added that it’s an established phenomenon that survival of a state mainly rested on sound economy. He hoped that Pakistan would progress in every sphere of life following the prudent economic policies.

Appreciating the wise decision of the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would ultimately provide solace to the business community, while a cushion of packages would help accelerate the economic activities in the country and boost exports.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said that Pakistan’s economy was going through a challenging phase due to global warming and Russia-Ukraine conflict adding that manufacturers, traders, retailers, importers, exporters and other businesses were in distress and facing huge financial losses due to the current political upheaval. However, he said the government took extraordinary bold decisions to overcome this crisis.

He said it was the dire need of the hour to use the modern techniques for increasing the per acre yield, adding, the government allocated record funds for the research and development activities to put the agri-sector on modern scientific lines by using hi tech hybrid seeds.

Iftikhar Ali Malik hoped that all irritants if any in the budget would be removed to the satisfaction of the business community which was the source of financial strength of the government.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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