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LAHORE: The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) Chairman Faheem Ur Rehman Saigol has observed that in view of achieving economic growth through consistency in policies, the government will have to take solid measures to strengthen the trade and industry, especially the SMEs, saving the livelihood of millions of workers associated with the small businesses.

A major cut in the key policy rate, regionally competitive energy rates, a sizable reduction in fuel prices and relaxation in duties & taxes are need of the hour, he said and added that mere statements will not work unless the government takes solid measures. The government will have to make a visible reduction in taxes to help grow the businesses, particularly the SME sector, as Pakistan needs millions of jobs annually.

These recommendations were put forward by PIAF Chairman Faheem Ur Rehman Saigol, accompanied by senior vice chairman Haroon Shafique Chaudhary and vice chairman Raja Adeel, in a meeting, consisting of various trade and industrial sectors, held here to review the present economic challenges being faced by business community, urging the finance ministry to make focus on greater relief to the documented and registered SMEs.

Addressing the meeting PIAF Chairman Faheem Ur Rehman Saigol observed that the successive governments should pursue the same set of objectives and try to maintain consistent policies for a long-term of at least 10 years.

The government should focus on the industrial sector in order to take the economy forward. Neglecting the industrial sector at this juncture will further aggravate the balance of payments situation, he added.

Faheem Ur Rehman Saigol said that the small and medium enterprises are backbone of the economy and their role was crucial for economic development. He said that major issue of the SMEs is limited access to the financing, as just 6-8% of the total lending to the private sector was being given to them while the number of SME borrowers are below 0.3 million, which should be enhanced.

Haroon Shafique Chaudhary proposed the government to reduce tax rates with a view to widen the tax base and curtail parallel economy, also providing a competitive edge to Pakistan’s products in global markets.

He said that the PIAF had submitted comprehensive proposals for the present federal budget with main objective to bring liberal investment policy, infrastructure development, broadening of tax base and creating jobs through industrialization. The proposals were compiled in an unbiased and transparent manner, incorporating feedback received from business community on hosts of sectors from all over the country.

PIAF vice chairman Raja Adeel said that instead of importing raw materials, we should ourselves create them through R&D and then add value in it to export it to international markets. It’ll increase the revenue and make a self reliant Pakistan. Moreover, fluctuating cost of raw material is a major hurdle in low exports. Govt should control and maintain the prices of goods for minimum six months especially the utilities, customs tariffs etc.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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