ICCI urges government to finalize next budget in consultation with stakeholders

  • May 19, 2021
The business community is the key stakeholder in running the economy and the government should finalize the upcoming federal budget in consultation with major chambers of commerce & industry and other trade bodies. This was emphasized by Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry in a statement.
President ICCI said that Pakistan was in dire need of boosting trade and industrial activities in order to achieve early revival of economy and stressed that the government should bring down policy interest rate to least 3 percent in the next budget that would pave way for availability of low cost credit to the private sector and accelerate the pace of industrialization and investment in the country. He said that 17 percent GST was a major factor for high cost of doing business and hike in inflation for the common man, therefore, he urged that the government should bring down GST to single digit level in the upcoming budget in order to reduce the production cost and decrease inflation in the country. It would also make our exports more competitive in the international market.
Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said that Pakistan was mostly relying on raw materials and agro based commodities for exports while there was a great need to focus on production of value added products for achieving a great boost in exports. For this purpose, the government should allow duty free import of industrial machinery, equipment and technology so that our industrial sector could upgrade itself to produce value added and hi-tech products for exports. He said that the government should also consider providing incentive package to all major industries on the pattern of construction that would bring a new industrial revolution in the country. He said that the government should also reduce taxes and duties on vehicles to promote investment in the automobile sector along with cutting duties on luxury goods.
ICCI President said that Pakistan has tremendous potential to improve its economy by promoting the tourism sector. He stressed that in the next budget, the government should allow duty free import for all paraphernalia for the development of tourism related projects including tiles, lights, electrical, mechanical & IT equipment in addition to machinery used in 3-5 star hotels and all tourism projects. He said that duty free import of passenger lifts, escalators, chillers, furniture and fittings, GRMS systems, BMUS, chair lifts for resorts would go a long way in promoting the tourism sector.
He said that besides the cost of land, the development of a 4 to 5 star hotel was capital intensive primarily due to the extensive duties in place and much longer payback period. Therefore, he emphasized that the government should announce at least a 5-10 year tax holiday along with various other incentives for investment in the tourism industry. Since the return on investment in the hotel industry comes after 7 to 10 years, therefore a tax holiday of minimum 5-10 years was important to make this sector more lucrative for investors and a game changer for the economy.