HYDERABAD: Muhammad Farooq Shaikhani, President, Hyderabad Chamber of Small Traders & Small Industry, emphasized the critical need for a pragmatic and precise budget from the Pakistani government in the upcoming fiscal year of 2024-2025, considering the prevailing economic circumstances.

In deliberating the budget proposals for 2024-25 and confronting the nation's economic hurdles head-on, Shaikhani underscored the necessity for subsidies on gas and electricity tariffs for small and medium enterprise industries. Moreover, he advocated for the exemption of any taxation on solar energy, highlighting its pivotal role in sustainable development.

Shaikhani also called for robust financial assistance schemes tailored for small and medium enterprises, coupled with comprehensive training programs. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of facilitating seamless access to both domestic and foreign markets, thereby bolstering the growth prospects of these vital economic players.

Shaikhani demanded the urgent need for increased funding to enhance the infrastructure of the Hyderabad SITE, advocating for the swift allocation of the allocated 110 billion rupees. He underscored the pivotal role of improved roads, upgraded water lines, and enhanced sewage systems in driving the region's progress forward.

Furthermore, Shaikhani highlighted the formidable barrier posed by the current 22% interest rate, deeming it prohibitive for establishing industries in Pakistan. He stressed the imperative of aligning the interest rates with global standards to foster conducive environment for economic growth. Additionally, Shaikhani called for a substantial boost in the development budget, particularly directed towards education and healthcare initiatives, recognizing them as indispensable pillars for societal advancement.

Shaikhani outlined a strategic pathway to alleviate external debt by amplifying exports, stressing the vital role of incentivizing exporters to explore and tap into new markets. He underscored the urgency of recalibrating the point of sale system policy to mitigate the impact of inflation and currency devaluation, proposing a substantial increase in the sales limit from 20 million to 100 million rupees.

Shaikhani further advocated for the implementation of a tax-friendly framework, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive registration of manufacturing companies, distributors, and dealers for sales tax. In his vision, this streamlined approach would entail a nominal 0.1% tax under section 236C for the entire distribution network. Moreover, he proposed a modest percentage tax and a 0.25% advance tax collection from retailers, envisioning a balanced and equitable taxation system conducive to economic growth.

Shaikhani articulated a compelling proposition, advocating for the compulsory requirement of National Tax Number (NTN) and income tax returns for all individuals traveling abroad. Highlighting the potential for substantial savings, Shaikhani proposed a prudent measure to curtail government vehicle usage, estimating an annual savings of $264 million.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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