FAISALABAD-The All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) lauded the federal government for presenting a balanced, business-friendly and pro-people budget for the year 2018-19 despite enormous odds and resource constraint.

It is a healthy augury for Pakistan, but we still need to do a lot more for keeping abreast with the new challenges, said APTPMA Chairman Saleem Parekh while felicitating Federal Minister of Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. He recounted the corrective measures envisaged by the Federal Budget in the Textile Sector.

The APTPMA chief said that reduction of customs duty on import of coal from 5% to 3%, withdrawal of 3% value addition tax and reduction of sales tax from 17% to 12% on import of LNG and announcement of big package for exporters are right step in the right direction.

Announcement of new big export package, allocation of Rs25 billion for development of Karachi and setting up of a desalination plant in Karachi which will provide the city 50 million gallons of water per day, inclusive of allocation of Rs8 billion for expansion of Karachi Expo Center and Rs5 billion for constructions of roads, fire brigade and bridges are appreciable, he said..

Furthermore, he also lauded the continuation of zero-rating regime, withdrawal of powers of Chief Commissioner under section 40B of Sales Tax Act 1990, clearance of pending refund claims for payment over the next 12 months starting 01.07.2018, assurance of payment of new refund claims on monthly basis without any delay, rate of further tax @ 1% on local supply of finished fabric and provision of input tax adjustment on packing materials to five export oriented sectors by amendment in SRO.1125(I)/2011 dated 31.12.2011.

He added that exemption of customs duty on raw materials on 104 items and reduction of duty on 28 other items used by value-added export sector, zero rating of import materials for export sector, continuation of incentives under various schemes of Textile Policy 2014-19 during FY 2018-19 and allocation of Rs10 billion for such schemes, restriction of sales tax and federal excise audit only once in three years, 1% annual reduction of Corporate Tax for Individual and AoP, reduction of duties on electric cars, zero rating of stationery items, exemption of 5% customs duty on LED parts and computer parts, are laudable.

However, he said, still a lot has to be done yet thorough long-range planning in order to give relief and boost value added textile industry and export of the country through reduction of gas, electricity and water tariff at the level of our competitor countries, complete abolition of section 38A and 40B of Sales Tax Act 1990.

To cope with the shortage and price hike of caustic soda and hydrogen peroxide faced by our industry, withdrawal of import/regulatory duty on these essential items also be made forthwith, he demanded.

Before concluding, the APTPMA chief contended that the budget can be rightly stated as the common man’s budget because it has ensured special concessions for the salaried person, senior citizens, pensioners and industrial labour through allocation of adequate funds for infrastructure and development projects in the sectors of agriculture, highways, health and education.

Concluding, Saleem Parkeh, contended that the budget is an auspicious augury for a brighter and more prosperous Pakistan in the decades ahead.

Likewise, expressing concerns on a many failures of the government, the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) welcomed the new Federal Budget 2018-19 terming it pro-industry and people friendly.

Talking to media persons immediately after listening to the budget speech of Federal Finance Minister Ismail Miftah, FCCI Acting President Sheikh Farooq Yusuf said that if the 5 years of this government are compared with the tenure of previous government, there is laudable improvement despite inherited and chronic problems of loadshedding, terrorism and negative politics.

The government has achieved visible success but if year to year comparison is made, the government failed to achieve most of the set targets in different fields, he said. He added that GDP target was fixed at 6% but government achieved only 5.8%. The increase of 12% in export is very encouraging in the prevailing situation but at the same time the widening gap between imports and exports is very alarming which will have negative repercussions on the overall national economy.

He identified that government has included a number of FCCI proposals in the budget including trimming discretionary powers of tax collectors, continuation of zero rating policy for exports and increasing tax slap from 4 Lac to 1.2 million. He said that increase in salaries and pensions of government employees are also right step in right direction which will mitigate the financial problems of the salaried class. He also welcomed the increase in house rent which has been increased up to 50 %.

Commenting on the agriculture sector, Mr Farooq Yusuf said that a number of positive incentives have been doled out to the farming community which would not only stabilized this productive segment of our economy but also play a pivotal role in the weeding out rural poverty. He told that 5% regulatory duty was levied on a medicine for the treatment of cancer erroneously which has been proposed to be withdrawn. He termed reduction in withholding tax on bank transaction by non filers as insufficient and said that withholding tax on filers should be withdrawn completely while its rate for non filers should be further curtailed to 0.03%. In view of the increased use of computer in everyday life, he welcomed the withdrawal of duties on 21 parts of computers but lamented increase in further tax from 2 to 3.

During this session6 other office-bearers of local trade organizations also expressed their views and welcomed that many proposals given by FCCI have been included in the federal budget which will not only facilitate the businesses but also help in increasing the development process.