LAHORE -  The businessmen have opposed the government’s plan to impose fresh regulatory duties as it would wreck havoc with the trade & industry and would also shatter the confidence of local & foreign investors.

Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Malik Tahir Javaid said that government is mulling to impose fresh regulatory duties on a number of items to curtail the rising budget deficit. They said that existing regulatory duty regime is already indigestible for the business community and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry was demanding its complete withdrawal while government is posing to impose more that would affect the business atmosphere and would also create distance between the government and the private sector.

Malik Tahir said that government should workout doable methods to control budget deficit instead of crushing the business community through regulatory duty. He said that government should learn from the experience of those countries that have controlled the budget deficit drastically.

While giving some suggestions to the government for controlling budget deficit, Saarc CCI vice president Iftikhar Malik said that government would have to use a combination of policies. He said that the most effective method to bring down the budget deficit is aim for positive economic growth. UBG chairman Iftikhar Malik called for reducing non-productive expenditures of the state. He said that non-development expenditures are not only heavily contributing to the budget deficit but are also one of the major reasons of huge burden of external debts. He said that at present the percentage of government spending to GDP is to the higher side that must be controlled.

PIAF chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that government should broaden the tax base and bring untaxed sectors into the tax net which would increase the government revenues and reduce the budget deficit.

He said that agriculture sector of the country also has the ability to contribute significantly to the national exchequer. Irfan Iqbal said that agriculture, livestock and dairy sector can play a crucial role in the economic turnaround of Pakistan. Government should fully exploit its potential to get rid of the economic ills. Our future is linked with livestock sector and we have to march forward speedily for improvement of this sector, he said.

LCCI former vice president Kashif Anwar said that economic growth is essential to reduce the budget deficit. He said that if trade and industry will grow, the revenues of the governments will automatically increase without raising the number or ratio of the taxes.

Kashif Anwar demanded of the government, not only to shelve the plan for imposing fresh regulatory duties but also withdraw the existing RD. He said that a meeting of the stakeholders must be called immediately to get their valuable feedback on the issues of regulatory duty, economic growth and budget deficit etc.