Lahore, June 19, 2016 (PPI-OT): The Founders Group of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has given a seven points formula to the government for economic turnaround of the country within the shortest possible time. Chairman Founders Group, Ijaz Butt and senior leader of the group Mian Muhammad Ashraf while speaking a meeting of the group said that if the suggestions are implemented in letter and spirit, the country would not be needing any sort of foreign assistance.
LCCI former Presidents including Syed Mohsin Raza Bukhari, Iftikhar Ali Malik, Tariq Hameed, Sheikh Mohammad Asif, Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman, Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Mian Muzaffar Ali, Farooq Iftikhar, Ijaz A. Mumtaz, Abdul Basit, Nasir Saeed and other leaders of Founders Group also spoke on the occasion.
Ijaz Butt and Mian Muhammad Ashraf said that economically the country was passing through a very difficult time while the political uncertainty has gripped the entire nation. They said the business community is ready to do everything to make the country a hub of business and economic activities. They said that after a number of meetings, the founders group has reached the conclusion that there are seven areas that need immediate attention of the policymakers.
They said that energy demand is growing with every passing day. Though the government is working in energy sector effectively and a number of power projects are in the pipeline but at the same time it is the duty of the government to develop alternate means of electricity generation. If some measures would have taken a decade ago, the situation would have been different today, they added.
The leaders of Founders Group said that government should take immediate measures to eliminate circular debt so that the gap between demand and supply could be curtailed. Secondly, line losses and power theft should be controlled. Above all, the government should focus on construction of water reservoirs. Amongst the alternate sources of energy biomass shows tremendous potential.
The total capacity in biomass is over 22000 MW in Pakistan to which little technical training is required to bring this resource in use. Alternate Energy Board must concentrate on it to establish these units in villages. Ijaz Butt and Mian Muhammad Ashraf said that coal, hydropower and biomass can produce energy at a flat rate of less than Rs 5 per unit for next twenty years, helping manufacturing industry to grow unabated with no taxation on inputs and availability of technically better quality workforce. He suggested that the state should withdraw all profiteering and taxation from energy sector.
Elaborating his point, they said that with the single digit markup, the government actually would be expediting the process of industrialization in the country resultantly there would be more jobs for the unemployed youth while inflation would also come down with the improvement of supply chain of consumer goods.
Founders Group leaders said that the government should immediately cut duties and taxes on it. For bringing down the taxes and duties on oil products, the government would have to curtail its non-development expenditures but it was a common phenomenon that untoward economic situations are dealt through special measures.
They also endorsed the business community demand for bringing down the rate of general sales tax to single digit as the high rate of GST in vogue in the country is discouraging the people from coming into the tax net. All local chambers could help the state in recovering and documenting economy so that only direct taxes should be levied and indirect taxation should be removed.
They said that within the next two decades, the literacy rate in Pakistan is likely to reach 75 percent thus the focus should be on general, technical education and vocational training in rural areas. The technical training needed to be transformed through Chinese support in areas such as mining, power generation and processed food industries. Higher education must be more technical and instead of sending our students abroad and spending our foreign exchange on foreign education, local facilities in technical institutes must be established.
With more than 10 trillion dollars worth of natural resources Pakistan must concentrate on developing local technology for excavation of minerals such as copper, coal, iron, and gold, for at least two decades. Transfer of technology from China in mining must take place at rapid pace, they said. They stressed the need for improving governance and law and order situation to encourage foreign investment.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan