ISLAMABAD

The Khyber Pakhtunkhawa’s business community on Saturday demanded income tax holiday for all industries and businesses in the province for a period of five years and also requested the federal government that mark-up on bank loans should be subsidized. They also requested that new investments in KP should be extended and moratorium on new gas connection in KPK should be lifted.

Delegation of business persons and representatives of KP Chamber of Commerce, led by Senator Ilyas Bilour, made these demands during meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The delegation emphasized grant of a new incentives package for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in view of the economic difficulties arising due to the sensitive security situation that made the economy go sluggish. The delegation also drew the minister’s attention to the restriction of 100 metric tons export of ghee/cooking oil in three months, imposed in March 2013. The delegation observed that the restriction/ceiling had rendered the ghee and cooking oil industry uncompetitive in the Afghan market where the foreign brand ghee was available at lower prices compared to the stuff manufactured in Pakistan. In order to give level playing field to the ghee sector, the delegation said either the government should abolish the quota system or the quota of 1000 MT in 90 days should be enhanced to 1000 MT per month.

The minister issued instructions to Chairman FBR to extend thorough consideration to the proposals submitted by the KP delegation keeping in view the state of economy in the province. He said new incentives for the KP would be considered in the 2015-16 budget. The minister on this occasion added that during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Kabul, the Afghan side had agreed to lift duty of $100 per 25 tons of goods and also consented to waive off condition of 110% Bank guarantee, for exports from Pakistan transiting through Afghanistan. These facilities would help promote trade and spur economic activities in KP, the minister observed.