The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Friday welcomed assurances by the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to the business community for removal of impediments to the economic growth.

In a statement, the LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar and Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad said that Prime Minister’s and COAS pledge to remove hurdles and problems being faced by the businessmen is a good sign. 

They added that economic growth can speed up provided reservations of business community regarding taxation system are removed, refunds are paid expeditiously, discretionary powers that have opened floodgates of corruption are clipped, agriculture stagnation is reversed and utility prices are reduced.

They said that the role of Federal Board of Revenue is considered as a key facilitator to private sector. But our experience shows that dealing with FBR, is not always easy. Tax system is complicated and burdensome which creates room for complicities between tax payers and the tax collectors. They said that number of taxes and frequency of paying taxes must be reduced. Moreover, taxes may be paid quarterly instead of every month. For that matter, all Para tariffs must be merged in the main tariffs.

“Similarly, there should be electronic communication between taxpayers and tax departments. These proposals can make noticeable difference and win the confidence of taxpayers”, they added 

They suggested that the government should take steps to control smuggling at the borders and Frontier core deployed there should be equipped with state of the art technology and made them more vigilant and to advise them to play their role in controlling the smuggling by exercising their authority under customs Act. They suggested that the duties on such goods which are prone to smuggling should be reduced as it has been practiced successfully in many other countries. They also called for reduction in duties and taxes on raw materials.

They said that all export-oriented sectors, including Halal food sector, should be given zero rated facility as the country has a little share in the international Halal food trade of about 3 trillion dollars. 

They said that Bhasha and Kalabagh, both dams are essential for the national economy. They said that opponents of Kalabagh dam are actually safeguarding the interests of anti-Pakistan elements therefore they should not be given any weight. 

They said that energy mix of the country is very expensive due to lack of hydel power generation. This results in tariff hikes and makes the industry uncompetitive in the international market. 

They said that despite an agrarian country, Pakistan is importing fruits, vegetables and other agri products on large scale that is a matter of concern. They said that this particular sector should be focused and issues should be resolved at the earliest.