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LAHORE: Punjab Secretary Industries, Commerce, Investment and Skill Development Department Lt Sohail Ashraf (r) has said that below the mark trade is not a good omen for the economy as there is a deep relation between trade and economic development of the country.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI President Kashif Anwar, Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt, MD Small Industries, Additional Secretary Commerce and the representatives of TEVTA, FIEDMC and PBIT also spoke on the occasion.

Secretary Industries said it is estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 people have lost their jobs in alone Bhai Pheru and surrounding areas. He said that prime focus of the industry department is to develop the industrial sector. “We want at least 3 representatives in our board from the private sector,” he added.

He said that the import substitution is very important to bring the economy back on track. There should be institutional integration and the environment department should consult with the industry department while taking industry-related measures.

“The industrial evolution process is not on the right path,” he said and added that the industrial places are being converted into the housing societies. Reduction in industrial expansion hinders the generation of wealth and employment opportunities.

The Secretary Industries said that all the drafts or the notified bill, which have come in last fifteen years, will be shared with the Lahore Chamber for feedback. The work is going on Punjab Green Development Programme of World Bank.

LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that earlier, our policy was to increase exports and reduce imports but we have to change it. We cannot increase exports but can reduce imports therefore, it should be done first.

He said that we don’t have foreign exchange reserve while pressure of IMF is adding to the miseries of the economy. The concerned departments do not bother to consult private sector while formulating the policies and do not bother to take stakeholders on board.

Kashif Anwar said that the policy rate in Pakistan is very high which should be brought down. There is a dire need to evolve small, medium and long-term policies. Particularly, small-term policies are need of the hour.

He said that amnesty is very important as it will bring the undeclared money into the economic circle. There is a lot of money in vaults and invested in land which should be taken out through amnesty. Earlier, all the amnesties were deliberately failed. Amnesty should be granted across the board and unconditionally as it can bring out $10 billion into the circulation.

He said that IMF has asked Pakistan to reduce subsidies and increase electricity bills and interest rate. The public is already exhausted and cannot bear more burdens. The tax policies should be harmonized. The wealth tax has been imposed on Rs25 million. A person who has made money by paying all the taxes, why should pay the wealth tax? he questioned.

There is no benefit to the taxpayers other than a reduced penalty. The taxpayer should be given the incentives. He said that the industrial sector is facing various challenges. Water tariffs for the industries in Lahore, Faisalabad and Gujranwala are different.

The LCCI President said that the water worth billions of dollars is being thrown to the sea. The recent floods have caused a loss of more than $30 billion. He said that sugarcane is being cultivated in the cotton producing areas and now we have to import 10 billion cotton bales. He said that those staff members should also be brought to the justice who assists electricity theft.

LCCI Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt shed light on the issues of Ferozepur Road Industrial Area and urged the government to give due facilitation to the industrial sector.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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