MULTAN-The businessmen, traders, importers and exporters have termed the Budget 2018-2019 balanced but criticized the federal government for ignoring the small and medium enterprises in the country.

Expressing his views on the budget, former president of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi said that a number of good decisions have been part of the budget speech but a comprehensive reaction on this subject would be announced after thoroughly studying the proposed finance document.

He said the announcement of subsidiary and relaxation of duties on fertilizer, agricultural machinery is laudable as it will help boost the agriculture sector. “We appreciate the measures taken for non-filers, this will help to document the economy and increase the tax net,” he added.

Haji Muhammad Akram Chairman of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) said that cotton production would surely increase because Government has taken some effective measures for the betterment of farmers like reduction in GST, withdrawal of taxes on agriculture Machinery, fertilizers, seed and other inputs, however, showed reservations on the allocation of Rs57 billion for Higher Education, and said that country needs skilled labour at higher level. He said the universities must get more allocations to promote higher education.

Syed Muhammad Aasim Shah, the chairman of All Pakistan Bedsheet and Upholstry Manufacturers Association (APBUMA), said that reduction on taxes on dividends will help Pakistan Stock Market and reduction in super tax is also appreciated.

He said that government has accepted 60 per cent of recommendations from business community. He said overall its friendly budget for business community, as government has waived off import duty on many items including dairy products, import of animal etc. Federal budget 2018-19 has not offered special incentives to small & medium industries in the country, which are struggling hard to survive in the face of high cost of production, representatives of small and medium industries stated on Friday. Small & medium industrial sector is the backbone of the economy and a big contributor in the export earnings, he said.

It should have been given relief in taxation, but unfortunately it was left out in the priorities of the federal government when it presented its budget for the next financial year, representatives stated.

Khawaja Muhammad Usman Ex-President of MCCI said that business community recommended the government there should be ‘one tax system’ despite of having many taxes. “We hope that government would consider this recommendation in future,” he added.

Former President of MCCI Mian Iqbal Hassan believed that growing trade deficit is touching dangerous levels and it could have been controlled only through incentives to export sector to register remarkable growth in its earnings. SMEs being a major contributor in the export earnings would have been performing better if federal government would have incorporated the proposals regarding development of SMEs.

Khawaja Muhammad Abdullah ex-president of Multan Chamber welcomed the decision of selection for audit in respect of all three taxes; Income Tax, Sales Tax and Federal Excise Duty which had been made risk based and a case shall not be audited more than once in three years for each tax. He said concept of composite audit would also be introduced to ensure that audit of tax affairs under all tax laws is undertaken simultaneously to avoid inconvenience to the tax payers.