Lahore, April 28, 2015 (PPI-OT): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed the optimism that the Federal Budget 2015-16 would be energy focused as the energy crisis has become the major threat to the national economic growth.
The LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz was presiding over the LCCI Executive Committee meeting here on Tuesday. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir, Vice President Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi and Executive Committee Members also spoke on this issue of vital importance.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the policy makers would have to listen to the voice of the business community who is the main stakeholder to the energy issues.
He said that in Bangladesh, provision of energy to the trade and industry is top priority that’s why their exports are far ahead of many countries of the world, he added.
He urged the government to re-fix the priority list as far as availability of energy to the trade and industry is concerned.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that in order to tackle the energy shortage, government has to allocate for construction of dams including Kalabagh, water reservoirs and Thar coal project. He said that at least 10 percent of the total budget should be allocated the hydel power projects to cope with the challenge of energy shortage
The LCCI president said that the country’s reliance on costly thermal power is jacking up the cost of production and the import bill as well. The country needs an urgent transfer in its energy-mix in favor of hydel power and alternate energy resources.
He suggested that use of biogas should be promoted throughout the rural sector both for electricity generation and gas for cooking besides producing bio fertilizer.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that over 185 billion tons of Thar coal reserves are enough to provide 100,000 MW of electricity for 100 years. Though government was doing a lot at this front but efforts should be accelerated as the uninterrupted and affordable power supplies can turn Pakistan into an economic powerhouse.
He also urged the policy makers to also focus on enforcement of law and order while lowering of tariffs on smuggling prone items, increasing the share of direct taxes in revenue and lowering the slab of indirect taxes in the forthcoming budget to achieve key economic targets set for the year 2015-16.
The LCCI President also hoped that maximum funds would also be made available for LNG terminals to keep the industrial wheel running especially in Punjab that has borne the brunt of recent suspension of gas supplies to industry in the country.
He said that rising crime against the business community and the masses are hitting the confidence of local and foreign investors hard therefore, the sizeable funds must be allocated for improving law and order situation.
He said that rising risk perception about investing into Pakistan is hitting hard the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and it would affect the economic growth of the country. He said that this issue should be tackled through a comprehensive policy approach by involving Chambers of Commerce in the country.
The LCCI President said that a number of sectors in Pakistan including infrastructure development, coal, energy, agriculture, livestock, textiles and pharmaceutical offer lucrative investment opportunities to foreign investors but unfortunately due to absence of a proper and well tailored marketing strategy, these opportunities are unattended even today.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz also urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to cut the rate of duties on all smuggling-prone items in order to check smuggling which is destroying the local industry. He also stressed the need to bring the untaxed sectors into the tax net.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan