ICCI terms Budget 2013-14 best possible in prevailing circumstances

  • June 13, 2013
The Budget 2013-14 announced by the newly elected government is the best possible budget in the prevailing circumstances as it envisages many positive measures for business and industry. This was said by Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry while commenting on Budget 2013-14. 
He said budget has addressed many immediate concerns of the trade and industry prominent of which are clearing circular debt within 60 days, completing Nandipur Power project, allocating sufficient funds to power sector and hoped that these measures would contribute positively to solving the energy crisis. He said elimination of circular debt within two months would immediately add sufficient electricity in the power system, which is currently lying idle due to non-availability of funds and thus greatly benefit the industry.  
However, he said Pakistan is endowed with rich coal reserves that have the potential to make Pakistan self-sufficient in energy. But nothing tangible has been announced in the budget to exploit coal reserves for energy generation. He said coal is a cheap source of energy and is getting priority attention at global level. 
He said India is producing 62% and China 70% of energy through coal while Pakistan is producing less than 1% energy through coal, which is unfortunate. He said power generation through coal would create multiple benefits as it will provide cheap electricity, lower production cost, make our products more competitive in international market and provide good relief to common man. He stressed upon the government to give priority attention to exploiting indigenous coal reserves for overcoming energy crisis. 
Mr. Bakhtawari said decisions to restructure commercial institutions, end SRO culture, extend tax holiday to Special Economic Zones for 10 years, set-up Special Economic Zone in Gawadar and establish new industrial estates in provinces are also laudable measures that would help in promoting industrialization and creating more jobs. 
He said extended tax holiday for SEZs would go a long way in attracting local and foreign investment in the country. He was of the view that construction of Express Way from Gawadar to Kashgar and Rail linkage from Gwadar to Afghanistan, if implemented, could make Pakistan a trade corridor of the word.
ICCI President appreciated the austerity measures announced in the budget like bringing down Prime Minister Office expenditure by 45 per cent, abolition of discretionary and secret funds of federal ministers, ban on purchase of vehicles for government functionaries and ban on duty free import of luxury vehicles for VVIPs as these would help in saving sufficient amount of taxpayers’ money.
He emphasized upon the government that it must ensure full implementation of all these positive measures to turn around the economy and put the country on a path of sustainable economic development.