Motorcycle assemblers ask govt to cut taxes in budget

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Motorcycle assemblers have demanded the government on Tuesday to relieve the industry of some taxes in the upcoming federal budget of Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-17. According to the body, 50 plants out of total 120 are closed and the remaining are not meeting their maximum production. Only 50 percent of the total production capacity is being utilized currently by production houses in the country. The industry is capable of producing around 4 million units per anum but sales are stagnated at 2 million. Industrialists while talking to private news channel said, that lesser production leads to increased manufacturing cost while government's production quota scheme has resulted in limited use of capability.

The body has stated that employment opportunities would increase if the government considers recommendations of the industrialists and reduce taxes.

 KP needs to improve agriculture performance

Peshawar (Online): Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry demanded that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, may identifying shortcomings of the 2005 policy, and immediately formulating a new policy framework for the development of its agriculture sector. In a meeting with group of farmers, FPCCI Standing Committee Chairman, Ahmad Jawad said that small landholding is one of the major hurdles in achieving higher yield growth. Over 80pc of the landholdings are below five acres.  Contrary to this, institutional arrangements favour large and politically influential farmers in KP. Small growers do not have access to inputs and resources to participate in high value-added markets.

While large and assured markets exist for the traditional crops like wheat but small farmers are big losers owing to fluctuating prices. Generally, the production is supply- driven and not demand-oriented.

Out of the total cultivable land of 2.96 million ha in KP, the area under cultivation is only 1.80 million ha. The remaining 1.16 million ha can be used for farming with marginal investment and something needs to be done in this respect. But the trouble is that both land use and cropping intensities have declined over time.

The imbalance and unscientific application of fertiliser has not only decreased its efficiency, but also degraded land fertility. Similarly the seed industry in the province lacks even the so much questioned national standard. Though there are some areas which are highly suitable for seed production, nothing is being done.

Ahmad Jawad further stated that market access is another challenge. Farmers with scattered small holdings are unable to have direct access to markets. The average distance for a farmer to reach the nearest market is 10 miles. This makes it difficult for growers to have accurate information about consumer prices. And the middleman benefits at the cost of farmers and consumers alike.

KP also lacks a proper system for storage of agriculture produce which results in sharp seasonal fluctuations in food prices. Agriculture R&D in KP also faces huge challenges such as poor research planning, prioritisation and poor linkages between farm and research bodies.

 Small traders reject 2 percent tax on turnover

ISLAMABAD (INP): Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders on Tuesday criticised the decision of the government to slap two percent tax on turnover of the retailers in the forthcoming budget terming it highly discriminatory. The unjust decision will trigger inflation and protest to meet the fate of tax amnesty scheme launched last year which failed to attract traders while government could hardly raise one billion rupees, it said. Traders were already frustrated due to high cost of energy, multiple and irrational taxes and ever-increasing demands of government officials therefore they cannot bear more burden, said Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt.

He said that government has already pushed many traders towards cash economy, transactions in US dollar and on slips and the latest decision will increase the volume of undocumented economy.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that all the efforts to bring traders in the tax net have failed and the latest attempt will also fail as the sector representing 20 percent of the GDP will not accept tax in presence of larger sectors enjoying tax exemptions.

The veteran business leader said that government imposed tax on import stage while shopkeepers pay fifteen percent withholding tax on rent therefore new tax is without justification.

If government assures that cost of energy will not be hiked in the upcoming budget and afterwards then some traders may consider otherwise, he said.

 Steps being taken to improve living standard of people

LAHORE (NNI): Provincial Minister for Finance Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha has said that Punjab govt is introducing lot of programmes which will raise the living standard of less-privileged segments of the society.  She said that provision of loans under Chief Minister Interest Free Loan Programme is one of them under which lakhs of deserving people have started their own small business.  She expressed these views while addressing the first session of International Islamic Economic, Banking & Finance Conference 2016 held at Falaties Hotel under the aegis of Al-Tijara Center of Islamic Economic, here on Tuesday.  Provincial Minister said that since 2001 to date world in general and Pakistan particularly has achieved rapid progress through Islamic banking.

She said that more than 17 thousand branches of Islamic banks are serving in Pakistan but unfortunately 95 percent persons belonged to elite class who get interest free loans but common man approached to informal sector to get loan where they pay 20 percent interest on loan.

She said that Punjab government has to transfer this facility of interest free loan to common man and cooperation of institution like Al-Tijara will helpful in this regard. Provincial Minister has said that about one lakh youngsters are moving towards practical life after completing their education. In this way, the government is unable to provide government job to all of them for this purpose the government is promoting them toward micro business so that, they can become independent using business. Islamic system of loan can play a better part in this way.

Higher administrator of Al-Tijara Sohail Sabir said while addressing in the meeting that government wants to eliminate heavy loan burden provided by various banks to the poor people. Professor Mujeeb Baig has said that Al-Tijara is providing cooperation to the deserving people who have skills but do not have investments. At the end of session Sohail Sabir presented commemorative souvenir to Finance Minister.  

 Golden Chick in Pakistan

KARACHI (PR): Golden Chick has launched its first outlet in a grand event held at the bustling food court of Dolmen Mall, Clifton, Karachi. Pakistan is the first country outside the US where Golden Chick has opened its franchise, displaying the confidence which international investors have in the Pakistani market. Crescent Star Foods & Crescent Star Insurance Chairman & CEO Naim Anwar stated: “We are pleased to announce the launch of the first ever Golden Chick franchise in Pakistan. Pakistan has a high demand for chicken and we feel Golden Chick will offer our consumers a great menu, high level of service, and overall feel that will appeal to Pakistani taste buds.  At Golden Chick we are not only offering fried chicken, but chicken tenders and roast chicken as well, which adds another layer of differentiation.”

Crescent Star Foods, a subsidiary of Crescent Star Insurance, has brought the Texas-based US fried chicken chain to Pakistan. With the launch of its first outlet, Golden Chick aims to spoil its customers with a variety of foods items which have never before been served in Pakistan.