Speaker National Assembly promises to resolve issues being faced by the business community

Lahore, December 21, 2016 (PPI-OT):Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has promised to resolve issues being faced by the business community.

“All sector-specific efforts are being made to turn country into an economic giant.”

He was addressing the delegation of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, led by its President Abdul Basit. Other members of the delegation were the LCCI Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan, Tanvir Ahmed, Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim, Adnan Khalid Butt, Mian Abdul Razzaq, Mian Zahid Javed, Tariq Mahmood, Ch. Khadim Hussain, Moazam Rasheed, Mian Muhammad Nawaz, Ali Hassan Asghar, Shahid Nazir, Arshad Baig and Maqsood Butt while MNA Pervez Malik also spoke on the occasion.

Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that he would to approach Federal ministries and important officials for resolution of the problems of business community.

He said that business community is the backbone of the economy and the main source of revenue that contributes to the national exchequer, their issues must be addressed on priority. He said that Government is well aware of the fact and taking various measures to ensure business friendly atmosphere.

Speaker National Assembly assured his full support to the LCCI delegation for early resolution of the issues being faced by the business community saying that he is ready to personally represent and raise the problems of trade and industry at all available forums including standing committees of the National Assembly.

He said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is not only a game changer but it is a faith changer. He said that CPEC would bring economic prosperity in the region.

The LCCI President Abdul Basit said that industrial Policy should be a Federal subject and should be uniformed for all the provinces. Currently, all the provinces are formulating their own industrial policy which is creating an undue competition among the provinces.

He said that currently, the rate of Regassified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) to Industrial sector in Punjab is around Rs932 per million British thermal unit (mmbtu) compared to the system gas which is being provided to Sindh industry at Rs600 per mmbtu. The current difference of Rs330 per mmbtu is already increasing the cost of doing business and non-competitiveness of Punjab based industry in local as well as international markets. The difference of 330 per mmbtu is expected to increase further as the Government has announced a price cut of 200 per mmbtu for the system gas which Sindh is getting. To bring Punjab on equal footing with other provinces, the Government can at least give subsidy either on RLNG or restore system gas till the severity of winter to reduce gas tariff difference.

He said that industry is burdened by the enforcement of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) through an ordinance. The Supreme Court has already declared enforcement of GIDC as illegal, confirming decisions by honourable High Courts of Peshawar and Sindh. GIDC would make Pakistani merchandise uncompetitive in the global marketplace and hurt the country’s exports.

Abdul Basit said that currently there is a ban on new gas connections for industrial use. The Federal Government should direct the SNGPL to remove this ban to incentives the formation of new industrial units/estates. The Government should also direct SNGPL to divert Natural Gas from CNG to Industry and Power Sector. He said that higher Load Shedding of Gas in Punjab. The increased load shedding of gas in the winter hampers the performance of industrial sector. The gas supply to industrial sector in Punjab remains low, especially in the period from mid-December to March 2015. Furthermore, due to low gas pressure in winters, the industrial sector is not able to operate in full swing and hence ends up losing export orders. This makes the industrial sector in Punjab uncompetitive as compared to the other provinces where the load shedding of gas is non-existent. LCCI demand the Government that the gas load shedding in all the provinces should be same.

He said that the energy mix of the country is very expensive due to lack of hydel power generation. This results in tariff hikes and makes the industry uncompetitive in the international market. The LCCI suggests that the Ministry of Finance should use the international and domestic stock markets for generation of funds for Diamer-Bhasha and Kalabagh Dams.

He said that around 40,000 large and small scale industries have already been established in and around Lahore while the industrial estates of city have provision of only 1200 plots for Industries that are located in proper Industrial Zones (800 in Sundar Industrial Estate and 400 in Quaid-e-Azam Industrial Estate). The Lahore Chamber of Commerce therefore reiterates its demand of declaring the 39 major roads of the city as Industrial Corridors.

In accordance with the suggestions of Lahore Chamber of Commerce, LDA prepared a draft for the amendments in the master plan of Lahore. The proposed expansion in the Industrial Zoning of Lahore cannot be implemented unless a formal notification of the amendments in the master plan of Lahore is issued by the Chief Minister Punjab. Since all the groundwork for amendments in the master plan of Lahore has been completed by LDA (including the Industrial Survey), this delay in notification is causing an environment of uncertainty in the business community of Lahore and hindering the planned growth of industrial sector in the city.

The LCCI Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan said that traffic congestion is one of the prime problems of the city of Lahore. He said that parking Punjab to construct the parking plazas on the already identified sites in the city on BOT basis. He said that reservation of Alternate Place for Demonstrations: Mall Road is one of the oldest and the most important roads in the city of Lahore. It often gets blocked due to strikes and processions by different segments of society. This not only disturbs the law and order situation of the city but also halts the commercial activities. It is proposed that Nasir Bagh should be reserved for demonstrations and no such activity should be allowed on the Mall Road.

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