Government should take business community on board before finalizing budget document – Muhammad Ishtiaq Qureshi

  • May 21, 2009
Government should take business community on board before finalizing the budget document for 2009-10 to get support of key stakeholders for achieving its desired results. This was stated by Muhammad Ishtiaq Qureshi, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a statement. He said normally budget document is prepared unilaterally without taking all key stakeholders including business community into confidence and due to this practice; most of the targets set in the budget are missed. He stressed for the need of creating better awareness in business community and the general public about budget so that all could contribute effectively for achieving its desired objectives.

Muhammad Ishtiaq Qureshi said these are very tough times for business community and government should announce a comprehensive relief package in the upcoming budget 2009-10, which could help revive the trade & industrial sector and boost exports. He said to ease the pressure on trade and industry; government should bring down mark up rate to single digit level along with reducing sales tax from 16 percent to 10 percent. He said zero-rated import duty should be introduced for machinery and raw material for textile, pharmaceutical and other industries, which is not produced in the country. He said due to ongoing power crisis and law & order problems, a large number of industrial units have gone out of business while most have shrunk to single shift, which has seriously hit the employment rate. In these conditions, local and foreign investors are very much reluctant to invest in the country and called upon the government to take urgent remedial measures to reverse this negative trend.

ICCI Vice President said rising power shortage and unannounced load shedding are proving great hurdles in smooth promotion of trade and industrial activities and urged upon the government to adopt measures on war footing basis to increase power production that is very essential for smooth running of the business activities. He was of the view that government should provide attractive incentives to power sector investors to meet the challenge of power shortage and to surpass annual increase of power demand. Government should consider to allot free of cost land for establishing power generating units. He hailed the government intention to bring agriculture into tax net and added that government should explore possibilities of broadening tax base and reducing tax rate which are the best options to enhance tax revenue. He also demanded reduction in gas and power tariff, oil prices and interest rates along with providing support to research and development (R&D) for industrial sector in the coming budget.