MULTAN-Local traders, industrialists and businessmen hailed on Friday the 'mini-budget', claiming it offered benefits to SMEs, industry, agriculture and capital market.

Sharing his observation about the mini-budget, President Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Muhammad Sarfraz said that the government has taken a good step to offer a free and conducive environment to the traders by allowing the businesses to file biannually withholding tax statements instead of filing them every month which was a great hassle. He said that the 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 is laudable as it would help the banking sector to extend more credit to SMEs for business expansion. He said that withdrawal of withholding tax on banking transactions of filers is also a positive step as it would provide them good relief. He hoped that these good measures would reduce cost of doing business and accelerate the growth of agriculture business and industrial activities in the country.

Khawaja Badar Munir , senior vice president and Sheikh Muhammad Amjad, vice president MCCI, said that providing five-year exemption to industrial undertakings set up between 1st March 2019 and 30th June 2023 for manufacturing of equipment used in generation of renewable energy was a commendable step as it would be helpful for producing cheap renewable energy for industry and consumers. They said that giving sales tax exemption on imported plant and machinery for green field industries would encourage green field investment and industrialization. They said that billions of rupees of exporters were stuck up with FBR in refunds, which was causing liquidity problems for them and it was encouraging that the government has allowed issuance of promissory notes to claimants of refunds at their option that would help in resolving this longstanding issue. They hoped that the economic reforms measures taken in the second supplementary finance bill would go a long way in promoting market capitalization, industrialization and investment leading to early recovery of the overall economy.

Meanwhile, the Former President of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Mian Tanvir A Sheikh also welcomed the mini budget. "The package has accommodated the recommendations of the business community," said Tanvir A Sheikh.

Similarly, Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi , chairman Multan Dryport Trust ,President of Industrial Estate Management board has also called the mini-budget as pro exports and industry. "Reduction of customs duty on raw material and removal of withholding tax on tax return filers are very positive steps and will facilitate the export-oriented industry," Roomi said.He further said a cut in income tax rates for banks' profits derived from small and medium enterprises, agriculture, and low-cost housing financing would encourage investment and business expansion.