LAHORE -

The manufacturers and exporters, while appreciating the new government plan of merging more than a dozen federal divisions into their previous ministries, have called for a merger of Ministries of Commerce and Production & Industries, as the amalgamation of unnecessary divisions would help shave off unwarranted expenditure incurring on keeping their administrative paraphernalia.

“Bifurcations of these divisions and ministries have damaged industrial growth due to lack of coordination and political influence, as subordinate institutions are lacking direction and capacity,” they.

They suggested the newly elected government to devise a comprehensive policy showing the right direction in the upcoming budget to address the business community’s concerns.

They listed the energy deficit, inter-corporate circular debt, bleeding public sector enterprises, high fiscal deficit and low tax base as the biggest and most immediate challenges that warrant the attention of incoming government. They urged the policymakers to devise comprehensive strategies to fix these problems, insisting to swallow the bitter pill right now so that the positive effects of these measures can start reaping results.

They asked for experienced and competent persons to head important institutions, which are highly politicized and need cleansing with good and honest officers.

Boards of various organizations are almost defunct and need to be restructured, said All Pakistan Business Forum chairman Nabeel Hashmi.

For instance, postal department, overseas Pakistanis, labour, manpower, housing, works, sports, culture, youth affairs and several other organisations were taken out from the control of different ministries and made independent establishments. These divisions were carved out just to accommodate in the federal cabinet a large battalion of former lawmakers belonging to the ex-ruling coalition parties.

Elaborating on his emphatic demand, he said that the federal government must present a detailed economic policy outlining its key focus for the next five years and highlighting short, medium and long-term plans for the national economy along with the budget document.

National Tariff Commission and Engineering Development Board both need strategic interventions to bring them up to the mark. Trade development authority needs to be made lighter and private sector involvement in policy and funds allocations is of urgent need.