LAHORE - The business community has urged the government to remove irritants for promotion of business and industrial activities in the country as only this can help generate more revenue and create employment opportunities. They said collection of revenue and imposition of new taxes was not the only responsibility of the government but it also had to provide an atmosphere conducive for business promotion.

Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front (PIAF) former Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that trade organisations had time and again advised the government not to squeeze those any more who were already contributing to the national exchequer as it would make business more difficult and complicated.

He appreciated the government drive against land grabbers but warned that anti-encroachment drive against established city markets has evoked anger and fear amongst the business community.

Opposing the government anti-encroachment campaign against established markets in Lahore, he asked the government to run the drive within legal framework, recommending the authorities to give a notice to the traders for voluntarily removal of real encroachments within a certain timeframe. If any trader fails to comply with the orders, then the authorities should take action and remove the encroachments.

He said that encouragement of business community is a must for any country to grow trade and economic activities. He said that consultation with the business community on business related issues, whether it is drive against encroachment or any other policy formulation, would encourage and boost the confidence of the businessmen and they would not only cooperate to the government but would also become a true driving force for the national economy.

He said that PIAF wants targeted operation against encroachments, but existing operation is indiscriminate and crushing genuine taxpayers along with the land grabbers, evoking anger and fear amongst the business community. He said that staff of concerned government departments is executing operation against encroachments thus triggering a crisis in the city markets, as traders are in a deep trouble and worried.

He said the move also created discontentment in affected traders. Anti-encroachment staff is doing what they want to do without informing the traders and destroying the buildings.