Budget 09-10 disappoints the business community – Mian Shaukat Masud

  • June 16, 2009
The government has declared the year 2009-10 as the “Year of Industrial Revival” in budget 09-10, but has taken no positive steps to reinvigorate the declining industry. High mark up rate, high electricity & gas tariff, shortage of power supply had badly crippled the business and industrial activities in the country and business community was expecting remedial measures to remove these problems, but budget 2009-10 has dented all such hopes. This was observed by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) in a statement. He said, the imposition of carbon tax on POL products and CNG, replacing Petroleum Development Levy (PDL) will further hamper the industrial growth as carbon tax would not only increase the financial miseries of 170 million people, it will also apply brakes on the industrial growth increasing the input cost of fuel and electricity manifold.
ICCI President specifically criticized the FBR move to create a post of Director General (Intelligence & Investigation).  He said it was an anti-business step as it will provide bureaucracy an easy tool for further harassing the businessmen and called upon the government to take business community fully on board before taking such measures otherwise they will go to extreme measures to protect their interests. He also termed unwise & unhealthy the government decision to make it mandatory for all persons to file their income returns who own immovable property with a land area having 500 sq. yards, flat having covered area 2000 sq ft or own a motor vehicle having engine capacity of 1000CC or more and added that these limits should be raised to 1000 sq yds, 4000 sq ft & 2000 CC respectively to save ordinary income earning people from further trouble. He also called the budget unfriendly for common man, saying that 2 percent increase in withholding tax on imports of commercial products, will increase inflation drastically.

Mian Shaukat Masud said the budget seemed to pulverize the business community to generate more revenue rather than providing relief in taxes to spur business activities and broaden tax net. He said the budget totally ignored the textile industry which was the backbone of country’s exports and employment while no substantive measures were taken for reviving of overall industrial sector. He said the withdrawn of R&D support and creation of proposed Rs.40 billion Export Investment Support Fund will not help industry and stressed upon the government to provide direct support to the industry instead of subjecting it to bureaucratic approaches. He said agriculture sector despite contributing 22 percent to the GDP has been exempted from any tax while industry despite paying more than 60 percent to tax revenue has been ignored which is discriminatory. He said if government wants to generate more revenue, it should develop a tax system based on fairness & equality to all those sectors bring in tax net which are capable of paying tax but enjoy tax exemption.