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Business Persons council constituted ten committees to take recommendations for upcoming budget

Islamabad: Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh constituted nine committees comprising business community of Pakistan and government officials to take suggestions for the upcoming budget, while chairing a meeting of Business Persons Council here today. The meeting aimed to review of current state of economy, the role of the private sector and enhancement of economic reforms in the country.

Prominent businessmen from all over the country, members form all Chambers of Commerce and Industry including President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, Mr. Siraj Qasim Taili member of Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Irfan Qaisar Shaikh from Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Tariq Saeed from SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other active businessmen participated in the meeting. They gave multidimensional suggestions on national economy and raised specific points for the attention of policy makers.

At the start of meeting, the Federal Minister briefed the council about the overall economic performance. He informed that our growth rate is crossing 3.8 %, which is the highest value in last three years despite many challenges like security situation, floods and global recession. We have taken difficult decision in tax reform and enabled to achieve the 25% increase in tax revenue.

Our export crossed the threshold value of US $ 25 billion. Remittances also showed star performance. Massive funds were distributed among the poor and forgotten people of Pakistan through Benazir Income Support Program. We doubled the budget for Baluchistan.

We promoted the trade and realigned our relations with major powers as well as with regional countries, said by Finance Minister. The Minister also talked about the contemporary challenges faced by government like complex and inhered energy crisis and reduction in external financing.

He informed that we are in transition phase with new public financing arrangements between center and provinces. We have taken and important and crucial decision by transferring funds from center to province, added by minister.

The members of council gave different proposals and highlighted their concerns for the coming budget. The overall discussion circled around reasons for reducing external financing, FBR related issues especially concerns over SRO-191, energy and gas crisis impact on industrial sector, import and export related matters, tariff and interest rate and intellectual property rights issues. On a question raised by one member of Council regarding increasing debt burden, secretary EAD clarified that debt could never be seen in nominal way. Debt is dealt in the context of GDP.

The perception of increasing debt Burdon is not true, rather ratio of debt to GDP has been decreased. Chairman FBR, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Governor State Bank, Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan also expressed their views in the meeting.

The matter of tax refunding to the business community by FBR was also discussed in the meeting. Finance Minister and Chairman FBR assured business community that their refunds would be given immediately. FBR will energize the process to issue refunding amount back to businesspersons at the earliest. A ceremony is expected to be held within three weeks to distribute the refunding checks to the people.

The council concluded to form nine committees to give suggestions/ recommendations on their respective areas and to present precise report within two weeks. Committee 1 will be constituted of Secretary Economic Affairs Division from government side and other selected members from business community.

This committee will work on “broadening of tax base”. Committee 2 will be constituted of Governor State Bank of Pakistan and other selected members from business community. This committee will work on “Financial Sector Reforms”. Committee 3 will be constituted of Deputy Chairmen Planning Commission and other selected members from business community. This committee will work on “tariff rationalization”. Committee 4 will be constituted of Secretary Commerce Division and other selected members from business community.

This committee will work on “regional trade”. Committee 5 will be constituted of Secretary Industries Division and other selected members from business community. This committee will work on “incentives for investment”. Committee 6 will be constituted of Secretary Finance Division and other selected members from business community. This committee will work on “expenditure management”. Committee 7 will be constituted of Secretary Investment Division and other selected members from business community.

This committee will work on “intellectual property rights”. Committee 8 will be constituted of Chairman FBR and other selected members from business community. This committee will work on “refund acceleration of taxes and other FBR related issues”. Committee 9 will be constituted of Chairman FBR from government side and other selected members from business community.

This committee will work on “tax relief package for FATA and Baluchistan”. Committee 10 will be constituted of Secretary Water and Power, Secretary Petroleum and Deputy Chairmen Planning Commission from government side and other selected members from business community. This committee will work on “energy crisis.

The council also concluded to hold an intensive meeting before the announcement of budget, in which delegates from Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Overseas Chambers of Commerce and Industry, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association and Stock Exchange of Pakistan will participate. In the same way, a detailed meeting of Business Person Council will be held after the announcement of budget.

At the end of the meeting, the Finance Minister thanked all members for their valuable suggestions and comments.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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