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FAISALABAD: Economic crisis has further enhanced the importance of Charter of Economy (CoE) as Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarian (PPP) and other political entities have consensus for the continuity of the economic policies and active participation of private sector in policy making to attract maximum FDI, said Saleem Mandviwalla, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Finance & Revenue.

Addressing the business community in Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI), he was optimistic that the incoming government would also understand its importance and all political parties would formally ink this CoE.

He said that it is probably the first time in the history of Pakistan that the IMF has undertaken from all political parties that they would continue to implement the IMF deal. “A clause of CoE could also be added in this undertaking”, he said and added that the IMF is not responsible for the economic crisis.

“It is only demanding financial discipline”, he said and added that we failed to maintain it. He said that law & order is also directly linked with economic stability. HE said that California police had announced that it would not register a theft case if the amount involved was below one thousand dollars.

Mandviwalla said that we are also facing a critical law & order situation as unemployment has surged while inflation has skyrocketed to 30-40%. He said that crime rate is comparatively less in prosperous countries as compared to countries facing economic turmoil.

He said that chambers must play their role in civic uplift in addition to protecting the legitimate interests of their members. About the delay in opening of LCs, he said that the state bank had prioritized three sectors including oil and defense when the country was facing acute shortage of dollars, however now the situation has improved and dollars are available to other sectors of the economy.

He said that the state bank had established a desk to entertain the complaints of delay but no complaint was lodged. He said that the business community facing LCs related issues may contact him for the immediate redressal of their problems.

About Anti Money Laundering (AML), he said that only one complaint was received from Karachi. “It was a case of FBR”, he said that in view of the sufferings of the taxpayers, we exempted taxpayers from this law. However, the PML-N included sales tax in this category which provided an opportunity to FBR to take action against the taxpayers.

He said that notices have been issued to the 254 individuals however, only one complaint was lodged. He said that the standing committee has decided that no officer less than the rank of member income tax or sales tax could issue notices under this act. He said that FIA is also investigating 710 cases but it was not under the administrative control of the ministry of finance & revenue.

About reformation in the energy sector, he said that the Discos are being privatized as a first step to control losses. Responding to a point raised by President FCCI about Sindh Infrastructure Development Cess, he assured to study and withdraws it for the temporary import of raw material for export purposes.

He also endorsed the demand to eliminate the category of non-filers but said that the then finance minister Ishaq Dar did not agree with him. He said that chambers should continue to pressurize the government on this particular issue so that this problematic category could be eliminated paving way to enhance the tax net.

He requested the business community of Faisalabad to file their complaints in written forms so that action could be initiated and their issues could be resolved. He said that complainants would also enjoy the indirect stay order as FBR could not proceed against him under law.

He also dispelled the rumors that the bank deposits beyond Rs. 0.5 million are not protected. He said that there was no mechanism for the protection of the bank deposits and the state bank has taken this step to secure the bank deposits up to Rs. 0.5 million as the number of account holders having this amount is around 94% of the total bank accounts.

He said that dollars are being smuggled out to Iran and Afghanistan which has created its shortage within the country. He quoted a recent scam in which a company has sent abroad Rs. 69 billion in the garb of import of solar panels through over invoicing.

Dr. Khurram Tariq, President FCCI particularly appreciated the role of Rana Farooq Saeed former Federal Minister and said that he had tried his best to facilitate the textile sector. He said that FCCI tried its optimum best to project and promotes the economy as the fourth pillar of the state.

He said that Saleem Mandviwalla provided an opportunity to him to present his point of view from the platform of the Senate. “Now, we could directly contact this apex policy making institute of the country”, he said and added that FCCI has played a key role in infrastructure development of Faisalabad.

Vice President Haji Muhammad Aslam Bhalli, Rana Sikandar Azam, Zia Alumdar, Shahid Ahmad Sheikh, Rana Bilal Tahir, Ayub Sabir, Rana Amir, Muhammad Asim, Shafique Hussain Shah, Mian Abdul Waheed, Sheikh Muhammad Fazil, Maqsood Akhtar Butt, Aftab Butt, Rana Fayyaz Ahmad and Master Ashfaq participated in the question-answer session while Senior Vice President Dr. Sajjad Arshad offered vote of thanks.

Later Dr. Khurram Tariq presented FCCI shield to Saleem Mandviwalla Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Finance & Revenue. Mandviwalla also recorded his impression in the FCCI visitor’s book. Former Federal Minister Rana Farooq Saeed and other PPP leaders were also present during this meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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