LAHORE - LCCI is focused on economic challenges of the country which is facing a daunting task of meeting its growing energy needs currently. This was claimed by LCCI President Almas Hyder while talking to APP here on Sunday. He said that the government had to explore and exploit all resources to meet the growing energy needs of domestic, manufacturing and agriculture sectors, adding that Lahore Chamber would also share the second part of its plan regarding Ease of Doing Business (EODB) with the government. He said the business community was well aware of the fact that the government alone could not overcome the economic challenges; therefore, the Lahore Chamber has always suggested practicable measures to the government for economic wellbeing of the country. Almas Hyder also expressed his concern over depleting water resources, gap between imports and exports, smuggling and pledged to work as a think-tank for the policy corridors.

The Lahore Chamber, he said, would explore new markets for Pakistani merchandise to enhance national exports.

Research and Development was an area where proper attention could do wonders, he said and vowed to work for promotion of research culture in Pakistan. He also stressed the need for good and friendly mechanism to ensure much-needed expansion in tax net, citing that it would encourage people to come into tax regime voluntarily.

Almas Hyder suggested that a scheme should be introduced for the business community that those business people would be exempted from audit who would pay 20 per cent more tax compared with the previous year. It would not only bring huge number of people into the tax regime but also enable the government meet its revenue targets.

The government took a commendable step by promising the release of tax refunds, which would have very positive impact on the export-oriented industry as well as help jack-up country’s overall exports, he added.

Almas said that a friendly taxation system would not only facilitate the business community but also strengthen public-private partnership.

He mentioned that no land was available in Lahore for industrialisation; however, the LCCI had identified 66,000 acres of land in south and north for establishment of new industries and urged the government to issue notification in this regard. He added that Lahore Chamber would also pursue construction of parking plazas in the city as almost all the city traffic related problems were because of non-availability of proper parking space.

He said that population of Lahore was over 10 million but infrastructure was not up to the mark, adding that airport in Lahore was smaller than airports in rural areas of China. Likewise, Lahore Railway station also needed up-gradation. He urged the government to plan for immediate expansion of the Lahore Airport and Lahore Railway Station as these were the most important sources of communication and cargo handling. He also called for establishment of more hotels of international standard to boost the hospitality industry.

The LCCI president said that top notch of the country including ministries and bureaucracy would be approached for early solution to the issues being faced by the business community, besides making the LCCI role more effective and meaningful. The youth population was a precious asset of the country, he said and called for encouraging the young generation to step into entrepreneurship.

Almas Hyder hoped that the government would introduce business friendly reforms, rules and regulations to achieve the desired economic targets in shortest possible time.