Lahore- The business community has termed the Punjab Budget for the year 2013-14 as balanced, welfare-oriented, pro-poor and business-friendly and congratulated Mian Shahbaz Sharif for evolving comprehensive strategy for progress and prosperity of the province.
The business community representatives said that record development programme and huge funds for the uplift of less-developed areas of the province would help curtail unemployment on the one hand while attract the foreign investment on the other. The FPCCI termed the tax-free Punjab budget for year 2013-2014 as pro-poor, balanced, development and growth-oriented.
FPCCI President Zubair Ahmad Malik a greeted Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif for presenting a tax-free annual budget by focusing on the promotion of quality education and provision of specialised medical treatment to poor strata of society besides special allocation of funds for rapid development in every sector of life.
Zubair said existing industrial estates and Punjab Small Industrial Estates must be made functional with the provision of basic infrastructure. He said the period of tax holiday be extended to all industrial estates for another 10 years to attract more foreign and local investors.
“Agriculture, education and health are major fields and Punjab government has focused on these important sectors. And if improvement plan is implemented in true spirit the province will become a role model,” observed LCCI former president Abdul Basit. He said that special focus on education sector shows the commitment of Chief Minister Punjab with the people of Punjab. He said that allocation of sufficient funds for establishment of more Danish Schools would certainly help poor to get their child educated.
He said that austerity measures like bringing down Chief Minister office expenditures up to 30%, abolition of discretion funds of provincial ministers and purchase on vehicles for Punjab government would remove burden on the provincial exchequer and enhance government revenue.
He said that the budget focus on energy projects is enough to make the point the Punjab government wants revival of economic activities in the province. He said decision to enhance power generation through hydel, coal & solar resources through public-private partnership would not only help ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity to the industry and masses but would also give a boost to the economic activities in the province.  
LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that the decision the facilitate private sector energy projects would help ensure electricity to the industry as now a large number of businessmen would be able to initiate power projects in the province.
He said that that allocation of Rs. 3 billion for self employment of the youth would encourage young entrepreneurs that is a good sign and would definitely go a long way in making the province a hub of manufacturing.