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LAHORE: President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kashif Anwar on Saturday successfully completed one year of his presidency and pledged to continue his untiring efforts for the cause of trade, industry and economy.

In a statement, LCCI President Kashif Anwar termed his meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Asim Muneer the most important happening during his first year as President LCCI saying that the economic outcomes were unbelievable as dollar flight arrested immediately and stock market witnessed a great boom.

Giving a summarized overview of his performance during a year, Kashif Anwar said that the US Ambassador visited LCCI after a long time. A crucial meeting with the Indian Deputy High Commissioner was also held at LCCI.

Besides this, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and trade delegations of various countries including European Union, China, Belgium, Iran, Tunis, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, UK also visited LCCI to have detailed deliberations on mutual trade and economic ties.

He said that he had more than one meeting with President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi, then Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman, Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Syed Mohsin Naqvi, Federal Finance and other ministers, Chairman FBR and other top authorities. He said that NEPRA Chief, SNGPL GM, Commissioner Lahore and various other authorities were also invited at LCCI to discuss the issues being faced by the business community.

Kashif Anwar said that LCCI had inked MoUs with various hospitals, labs, colleges and universities to secure modern facilities for LCCI members and staff on concessional rates. He said that Lahore Chamber also held Export Trophy, IT Awards and Ambassadors Dinner successfully. LCCI also organized Seerat-un-Nabi Conference and ASEAN Conference.

While giving a recipe for economic revival of the country and his goals for the next year, LCCI President said that the Charter of Economy should be one of our top priorities as it is the only solution to economic challenges. He said that every patriot Pakistani should pay his due taxes and should be in the tax net. Since assuming the role of President at LCCI, he has been actively working to expand the tax base by engaging every association and individual who visits LCCI.

President LCCI said that the expansion of the tax base would remain elusive as long as the grey economy remains unincorporated, unable to contribute to the formal, white economy. We hope that in near future the issues like rate of inflation, devaluation, interest rate and cost of doing business will get resolved.

He said that the remittances have decreased by 4 billion dollars in the last year. Many problems are caused by devaluation. FDI is not coming into the country due to high cost of doing business.

Kashif Anwar said that we want to increase exports but the priority should be to reduce imports and that will be through industrialization and import substitution. He said that there is a problem with MDI fixed charges. It should be resolved. Regulatory duties and customs duties should be abolished on raw materials which are not manufactured in this country. Kashif Anwar added that the interest rate is 22 percent. If it decreases, the business cost will decrease.

He said that solar and alternative energy should be made mandatory for houses of more than one kanal. Work should be started on reservoirs and dams, especially Kalabagh Dam, to avoid floods. He said that Loss-making State Owned Enterprises should be privatized.

Kashif Anwar said that SMEs should be promoted. They should be given easy access to loans. Banks should be asked to ease conditions for loans. He said that the steps should be taken to regulate the undeclared money. He said that the confidence of overseas Pakistanis should be restored. He said that government’s work on climate change is commendable.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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