LAHORE - Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has said that whatever is decided on the VAT, national interest should be given preference over personal interest. He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting of prominent industrialists, presidents of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the representatives of traders associations from all over the province at Chief Ministers Secretariat in connection with the Value Added Tax (VAT) here on Wednesday. The participants of the meeting gave their opinions and expressed reservations over the imposition of VAT. The chief minister said the meeting has been called to seek their opinions and proposals regarding VAT and its effects on trade, industry and other sectors. He said proposals and opinions of industrialists and traders regarding VAT would be discussed in a meeting in Islamabad. He said the country could not be put on the road to progress without promotion of industries and industrialists were the backbone for the development of industrial sector. He said illegal trade has adversely affected the industrial sector, which needs to be checked. He thanked the traders community for cooperating with the govt on the steps taken for energy conservation. The chief minister said he was thankful to them for closing their shops at 8:00pm and their cooperation has been widely hailed in the country. He said traders have set an unprecedented example of patriotism by giving preference to national interest over personal interest. Mian Marghoob, Mian Mansha, Syed Yawar Ali, Mian Abdul Manan, Haji Maqsood Butt, Presidents of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Multan, Pindi, Chairman Punjab Sugar Mills Association, President APTMA and representatives of traders associations also attended the meeting. He said that he had earlier opposed imposition of import duty oslso oppose this import duty. Expressing his views regarding the stance of Chairman Punjab Sugar Mills Association Javed Kiani that billions of rupees are outstanding against sugar mills and if import duty on sugar was not imposed, it would affect the local prices of sugar, chief minister said he is not in favour of imposition of import duty on sugar in the larger interest of common man, and, therefore, he has also written a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard.