LAHORE - Different trade bodies and chambers, in a national conference held under the banner of FPCCI, have demanded the restoration of EDB and immediate payment of refunds to the industry. The participants of the national conference passed a resolution unanimously to boycott the government departments for their non-friendly attitude and policies.

Addressing a large number of trade leaders, Vice President SAARC Chamber Iftikhar Malik said that number of research centers and laboratories should be increased while there should be strong linkage between industry and academia. Research is very important for the promotion of industries and should be on industrial requirement. He said there is dire need of skilled manpower in the country as CPEC projects are bringing many job opportunities in the country.

He said that UBG will never ever compromise on the interests of the business community and take their genuine grievances to high ups for immediate redressal. He said that auto industry and agricultural sector is not showing proper growth. He further said Pakistan’s auto market is considered among the smallest, but fastest growing in South Asia and the government following its own "Auto Policy 2016-21" should offer tax incentives to new automakers to establish manufacturing plants in the country. He said that Engineering Development Board in past played significant role for promotion of hardware engineering in the country and it was weird why the government dissolved this important department. He demanded the government to restore it as soon as possible.

Patron-in-chief United Business Group (UBG) and former Chief Executive Trade Development Authority Pakistan SM Muneer, criticizing the current budget, said that major chunk of industries especially textile and leather are badly suffering colossal financial loss and need immediate oxygen otherwise industrial sector will be collapsed. He said that nearly 200 textile and leather units are forced to shut down because of heavy taxation and absence of relief from the government.

SM Muneer stressed the urgent need for introducing pro poor, business friendly , export and growth oriented monetary policies to help strengthen the national economy on sound footings besides restoring the confidence of foreign and local investors.

Manzoor Ul Haq Malik, Regional Chairman FPCCI, said elected government should focus on issues of business sector otherwise they will lose their vote bank. He said government should make efforts to bring non-registered tax payers into tax net instead of squeezing already registered tax payers. Tax return system should be simplified. Help desk of Punjab Revenue Authority should be established at each Chamber of District. Discretionary powers given to the Federal Board of Revenue officials should be withdrawn. Business representative should be included as Board of Directors of all Government Institutions, PBIT, TDAP, FBR and NTC.

He further stressed on enhancing industrialization, balancing trade, increasing exports. He added double taxation should be discouraged. He said direct taxes should be encouraged instead of indirect tax system.

He said Pakistan is at 144th number of ease of doing business ranking of World Bank out of the list of 190 countries which is alarming.