LAHORE - Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan has said the government is fully committed to join hands with industrialists for combating challenges on economic fronts to secure future of the nation. He said that cooperation between the government and industry is must to bring about prosperity in the country. He was addressing the annual dinner reception of the Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) here at a local hotel.

The function was arranged to bid farewell to the outgoing chairman Usman Malik and welcome the newly-elected chairman Siddique Misri, senior vice chairman Mumshad Ali, vice chairman Iftikhar Ahmed and new Managing Committee. The annual dinner was largely attended by auto parts manufacturers from Lahore as well as Karachi including former chairmen and managing committee members.

He said the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had considered various proposals of the PAAPAM which reflected an investor friendly vision of the government. He expressed hope that industry and the trade sector would play its due role in development of the country.

He said Pakistan had a vast uncultivable area across the country and all stakeholders should come forward to enhance cultivated land to boost the national economy.

Bosan said the government would further facilitate the agriculture sector in the field of agri inputs with an aim to increase productivity.

Outgoing chairman Usman Malik said that although the tractor industry has seen sales drop significantly, jobs cut and profits plunge over the last few years because of the enforcement of sales tax, but the present government’s decision to reduce it to 10pc from July 1 last year has gone a long way in boosting sales. The reduction in the sales tax has saved farmers Rs30,000 on a small tractor and Rs90,000 on the large one.

The decision would not have been possible without the support of Minster for Food Security Sikander Bosan, who pleaded the case for reduction of GST on tractors with the Finance Ministry.

Addressing the meeting, the new SVC Mumshad Ali said that the industry is now expecting that the government will keep the tax regime stable for the tractor industry to enable us plan for the future.

Demanding consistency in policies, he observed that uncertainty and confusion always hurt the industry as we have seen in the last few years, he noted. He was also critical of the previous government’s policy permitting zero-rated import of the built-up tractors. It was a bad policy for the local vending industry that the present government has reversed, he added.

New chairman Siddique Misri was of the view that the vendors of tractors and locally assembled cars and light commercial vehicles look more perturbed over long delay of auto policy. The turnover of auto component sector has grown from a figure of $1.5 billion to $9.8 billion, he added.

Siddique Misri said that countries including India, Thailand, Malaysia and even Japan protect their local industry as they have imposed heavy taxes and penalties to discourage import.