Parliamentarians pledge to work hand-in-hand with business community to ensure ease for businesses in country

Lahore, April 19, 2016 (PPI-OT):Parliamentarians have pledged to work hand-in-hand with business community to ensure ease for businesses in the country. MNA Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh, Chairperson Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Privatisation and Siraj Ahmad Khan, Chairperson Standing Committee on Commerce of National Assembly of Pakistan were speaking at a Pre-Budget event jointly organized by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Institute of Cost and Management Accountants (ICMA) Pakistan.

LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder opened the over four-hour long discussion on budget while it was also addressed by former Finance Minister Dr Salman Shah, eminent Industrialist Mian Anjum Nisar, ICMAP head Kashif Mateen Ansari, Economist Dr Ikramul Haq, Presidents of various Chambers of Commerce of Pakistan including Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Okara, Sargodha, Vehari, Gujrat, Sahiwal, DG Khan, Rawalpindi, Sheikhupura, Jhan, Sialkot and LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed.

Both the Parliamentarians were confident that the private sector has the ability and the capacity to bring the country at par with developed nations of the world. They were of the view that in the yester years private sector could not make inroads only because of staying away from the right channel and the Committees of the National Assembly are the right place to policy advocacy.

Former Finance Minister Dr Salman Shah spoke highly about the LCCI initiative and expressed the optimism that its suggestions and proposals about upcoming budget would get right response. He said that it was the most opportune time to revamp taxation system that has failed the produce desired results. Economic growth can only be achieved by reducing rate and number of taxes.

Eminent Industrialist Mian Anjum Nisar said that it has now become almost impossible to run industry in Pakistan due to so many irritants including smuggling, under invoicing, non-professional attitude of FBR, undue notices and other taxation issues. He said that if the situation remained the same for quite some time, the people would not be interested in doing business or establishing industry in the country rather they would adopt other easy ways to make money including investment in real estate.

Speakers from business community were of the view that federal budget for the financial year 2016-17 should be for economy stimulus. The LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder said that so far as some macroeconomic indicators of Pakistan are concerned, these are showing improvement over the period of time like foreign exchange reserves, inflation rate and discount rate etc.

However, the situation is not good at other social and economic indicators. For example, Pakistan’s tax revenue as percentage of GDP is just 11%. Under the same head, Iran stands at 14.1% and Malaysia 16.9%. Similarly, Pakistan’s national gross saving as percentage of GDP is 14.3% which is quite low as compared to 28.8% by Malaysia and 31.2% by Iran.

He said that the net worth of foreign direct investment in Pakistan is too low. In 2014, it stood at dollar 1700 million but in 2015 it contracted to dollar 852 million. The Pakistan exports remained stagnant at dollar 25 billion for almost three years. This year, it is expected that Pakistan will only be able to fetch dollar 23 billion through exports earnings. Since, the value of imports is likely to remain over dollar 45 billion, so, trade deficit will further increase which will put extra pressure on already negative balance of payments. It will only lead to deficit financing and more loans.

“Tax issues are still prevailing despite the fact that government has given a framework to broaden tax net. Tax Amnesty scheme was announced but it failed to motivate new taxpayers. The biggest reason of this failure is that government did not close the other windows available for converting undeclared assets into white money. One of the ways includes bringing foreign remittances as no one will question it. If this scenario continues to prevail then nothing can get better”, he added.

The LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed said that the Government needs to set its priorities in the right direction talking all the stakeholders on board and showing full commitment to ensure a better Pakistan for the generations to come.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
11-Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat,
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-111-222-499
Fax: +92-42-36368854
Website: www.lcci.org.pk