LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday convened a meeting of the representatives of the business community including presidents of all the chambers in Punjab and chairmen of trade and industry associations.

CM Shahbaz Sharif, speaking at the MoUs signing ceremony among Punjab chambers of commerce & industry, appreciated the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry for establishing internationally recognized Mediation Center at its premises and enhancing its scope to other chambers of Punjab.

LCCI president Engineer Sohail Lashari inked MoUs on behalf of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry while Tariq Bilal, President Gujrat Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sohail Bin Rashees, President Faisalabad Chamber, Dr. Sarfraz Bashir, President Sialkot Chamber, Dr. Shimial Dawood, President Rawalpindi Chamber and Nauman Salahuddin represented Gujranwala Chamber.

The Chief Minister Punjab said that the establishment of Mediation Center would go a long way in strengthening of a mechanism of out of court settlement of disputes in the province of Punjab. He said that the International Finance Corporation and Department for International Development (DFID) have taken a step in right direction that would help increase foreign investment in Pakistan.

Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab government would extend every possible help to Lahore Chamber of Commerce for strengthening the mechanism of mediation in the province and necessary legislation would be done soon to give legal cover to the process.

Speaking on the occasion, MNA Pervez Malik said that the LCCI Mediation Center would enable the business community to get their disputes resolved in shortest possible time.

LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari shared with the audience that LCCI is the first and only Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan that has a panel of more than 40 internationally accredited mediators having diverse professional backgrounds who are trained by the Center for Effective Dispute Resolution, United Kingdom.

Qualified mediators are readily available at LCCI Business Dispute Resolution Center to help disputing parties settle general contract disputes and relating to trade and tax in particular. 

President LCCI acknowledged the role of trained and registered mediators towards effective dispute resolution.

Ross Forgousan said that the availability of mediation services as being provided by qualified mediators at LCCI Business Dispute Resolution Center would contribute to improving investment climate and will serve as a good signal for foreign and local companies to increase their business activities and create jobs.

Meanwhile, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry president thanked the Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Chief Minister Shahabaz Sharif for accepting a number of its demands including simplification of tax return forms and abolition of gas pass for manufacturing units.

He said that the government decision to make Income Tax Return Form single page from the next financial year would further strengthen government efforts aimed at bringing more people into the tax net besides putting an end to rampant corruption.