RAWALPINDI  -   The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (RCCI) has lauded the supplementary finance bill 2019 presented by the government as it has offered great incentives to SMEs, industry, agriculture and capital market that would set the direction of the economy.

President RCCI Malik Shahid Saleem said despite economic crunch and a number of domestic and international challenges on different fronts, the government has announced business and people-friendly bill but it should be implemented in letter and spirit from January instead of July 1, 2019.

He said that the measures taken in the Finance Bill have incorporated majority of the proposals the traders and businessmen had put forward during the meetings of the business community and traders delegations with Finance Minister Asad Umar and Advisor Razak Dawood.

He said that the new mini-budget will reduce the cost of doing business and accelerate the growth of manufacturing activities.

RCCI President said that government has taken a good step for ease of doing business by allowing the businesses to file biannually withholding tax statements instead of filing them every month. He said waiving off withholding tax on bank transactions for tax filers is a welcoming step of the government and it would give relief to small traders.

He said that government also reduced income tax rate from 35% to 20% on income of banks arising from loans to micro enterprises, SMEs, agriculture and low-cost housing finance which was appreciate able as it would help the banking sector to extend more credit to SMEs for business expansion.

The business community also hailed other steps announced by the Finance Minister Asad Umer like introduction of interest-free revolving credit of Rs5 billion (qarz-i-husna), lifting ban on purchase of vehicles for non-filers for locally manufactured cars up till 1300CC capacity, reduction of fixed tax on marriage halls from Rs20000 to Rs5,000, exemption of duties on investment in solar panels and wind turbines for five years and removal of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GDIC) from fertilizer production.