LAHORE-The business community has called for regionally competitive power and gas tariffs for domestic as well as export sectors to capture the global market. Pakistan Industrial & Traders Association Front Chairman Mian Nauman Kabir, in a joint statement with senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed and vice chairman Javed Siddiqi, appreciated the commerce minister, who managed to get notified the special electricity and gas tariffs for the export sector, demanding the same tariff should also be extended to the local industry, which cannot survive in present scenario. He welcomed the country’s positive economic indicators, which have started showing recovery despite enormous challenges at external as well as internal fronts due to outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown. During July 2020, Pakistan’s exports registered increase, whereas imports declined, which is very encouraging. Moreover, the renowned global institutions entities, monitoring the performance of different economic sectors across the world, have also started recognizing the growth of Pakistan economy through various reports.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that both international and domestic confidence was increasing. In addition, the Moody’s rating agency also provided stable rating for Pakistan economy and confirmed its B3 credit rating. It is fact that the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown drastically damaged the world economy and Pakistan was no exception which witnessed negative GDP growth. However, due to the better policies adopted by the government, including relief in energy tariff and markup rates the economic losses were mitigated to some extent, which now need to continue for further benefit. PIAF senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed observed that country has not been able to achieve its full export potential and product diversification owing to limited access to raw-material and to this effect the application procedures for temporary import schemes should be simplified, so that exporters could be able to achieve price competitiveness and product diversification. PIAF leadership expressed concern over excessively burdening the manufacturing sector that contributed around 22 percent to the economy, having a share of 72 percent in tax payments. 

He added that promoting foreign direct investment, increasing the share of direct taxes and slashing the slab of indirect levies topped the proposals presented by the industry for the current year budget 2020-21. He added that the PIAF has several time proposed a comprehensive action plan for the broadening of tax base and improving the tax-to-GDP ratio. According to reports, the government took Rs730 billion worth of taxation measures in the budget, while the GDP growth was projected at 15 percent, requiring to help collect additional taxes of Rs575 billion. PIAF vice chairman Javed Siddiqi said that industry was assured that sales tax refunds under the new system will be paid in 72 hours.