Various Chambers of Commerce & Industry Wednesday decided to present joint budget proposals to the Federal Board of Revenue for the Financial Year 2016-17.

The decision was made at a meeting on Budget Proposals 2016-17 called by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Wednesday. The LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad presided over the meeting and attended by the Senior Vice President Almas Hyder, Vice President Nasir Saeed, Executive Kamal Mahmood Amjad Mian, representatives of DG Khan, Okara, Vehari, Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Gujrat and other Chambers of Commerce & Industry spoke on the occasion. 

Objective of the meeting was to ensure maximum role of business community in trade & industry related policy making.

All Chambers of Commerce & Industry, through a joint communiqué, pledged to make joint efforts for elimination of harmful taxation, harmonization in Federal and Provincial tax regime, withdrawal of import duty on raw materials, removal of prevailing anomalies in the statute, simplification of tax adjudication process, timely completion of CPEC project and ensuring availability of uninterrupted and cheaper energy.

The participants said that government should invest as much as possible in the energy sector, lower the ratio of indirect taxes, bring down taxes & duties on smuggling-prone items and ensure timely completion of China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) to achieve the key economic targets.

The participants said that keeping in view the growing energy demand, a major portion of the upcoming Federal Budget for the year 2016-17 should be allocated for generation of cheap electricity through hydel means. Maximum funds should also be allocated for construction of large dams, tapping of natural resources to keep the industrial wheel moving.  

Reliance on expensive thermal units is not only one of the biggest reasons of energy crisis in recent past but has also been jacking up the cost of production. Country is direly needed energy mix in favor of hydel power and local fuels.

They lauded the efforts of the government and security forces for establishment of peace in the country saying that in past, law and order situation had hurt Pakistan’s potential as a highly-attractive investment destination. Though situation is far better than the past but still a lot work has to do.

They said that menace of smuggling which is causing loss of billions of dollars to the national economy. Smuggling has become a big threat for economic growth and any sector has hardly left untouched by this menace. Smuggled goods through the borders of Afghanistan, Iran China, India and the Afghan Transit Trade form a chunk of the informal economy volume of which ranges between 50 to 60 percent of the formal economy. 

It is costing the national exchequer in billions. Markets across the country are flooded with smuggled goods and local industries are struggling for survival as smuggled goods are not only easily available everywhere but are also attracting the buyers who prefer foreign merchandise.