Karachi, September 20, 2016 (PPI-OT): Sindh Minister for Industries and Commerce Manzoor Hussain Wassan, while underscoring the need to make collective and coordinated efforts to resolve issues, said that secretaries of all relevant ministries will be summoned along with representatives of Karachi Chamber soon to discuss and resolve numerous problems pertaining to taxation, labour, excise, environment, law and order, water, electricity and gas shortages etc. which were being suffered by the business and industrial community of Karachi.
“Furthermore, I will also request Chief Minister Sindh to visit Karachi Chamber as soon as possible so that he could personally look into the problems and accordingly issue directives with a view to provide relief to business community”, Manzoor Wassan added while exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday.
Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairmen BMG and Former Presidents KCCI Haroon Farooki and Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, Senior Vice President KCCI Zia Ahmed Khan, Former President KCCI AQ Khalil, Former SVP KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present at the meeting.
Industries Minister further said that Karachi City, being the capital of the province and the largest city of Pakistan in terms of population and revenue contribution, was on top priority of Sindh government. “Karachi cannot be left alone. We own this city and we will struggle for its due rights at the federal level”, he added while referring to the injustices being suffered by Karachi and Sindh province in terms resources distribution.
Referring to law and order situation, he said that the situation has improved during the past three years as compared to what it was in the past and now the citizens can easily be witnessed moving around without any fear even during late night. In order to make police department capable enough to efficiently maintain security situation of Karachi, a total of 20,000 police constables were being appointed on the basis of merit under the supervision of an army official which would surely discourage politicization of police department.
Terming the business community as major resource of Sindh, he admitted that it was highly unfair to overburden the loyal taxpayers with additional taxes whereas the tax evaders continue to all the benefits and stay out of tax net. He also assured to discuss tax-related issues, particularly Withholding Tax on Indenting Commission, with Sindh Revenue Board and Chief Minister in order to provide relief to concerned businessmen.
Replying to concern expressed over unfair distribution of gas resources, the Minister said that Sindh produces 69 percent of the country’s total gas production but it was not receiving its due share, resulting in gas load shedding being suffered by industries and CNG stations whereas Punjab province not only gets gas from Sindh but also received imported RLNG. He was of the opinion that Sindh province should be allowed to fulfil its own gas requirement first and then give excess gas to other provinces whereas the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess should only be applicable to industries situated in those provinces where sufficient gas was not being produced.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli requested Manzoor Wassan to bring Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah along with secretaries of relevant ministries to Karachi Chamber so that issues being faced by the business and industrial community could be discussed in detail in order to get them resolved.
Underscoring the need to encourage industrialization in Sindh, Siraj Teli said that this was the only way to create employment opportunities, eradicate poverty and ensure prosperity for the entire province. The issues of all industrial zones of Sindh have to be resolved in such a manner that results in not only ensuing smooth functioning of existing industrial units but also reactivates the suspended industries.
He was of the opinion that the economy of Pakistan was completely dependent on the industrial performance of Sindh and Karachi remains the highest contributor to the national exchequer regardless of all the arguments over revenue contribution. He informed the Minister that the Businessmen Group, which has been winning KCCI’s elections since 1998, serves the business and industrial community of Karachi under its clear policy of Public Services.
“Our truthfulness towards resolving the issues of Business and Industrial Community is usually not acceptable to various Ministers and Bureaucrats as they, instead of listening to hails to the presence, have to listen to the truth only on their arrival at Karachi Chamber which is the only reason why they avoid visiting the Chamber”, he added.
Chairman BMG further requested that Sindh government should devise a clear policy which must distribute numerous tasks to Ministers and these tasks must be strictly pursued till their completion. “Focus should be on resolving two to three major issues with a view to ensure smooth functioning of the industry. Any of these issues, either water, electricity or gas issue, should be resolved during the remaining tenure of Sindh government as all issues cannot be simply resolved during the remaining period”, he added.
He also expressed deep concern over dilapidated condition of roads in industrial zones of Karachi, particularly Site Industrial area due to lack of funds to Site Limited. Most of the funds were being utilized to pay salaries of staff at Site Limited and Karachi Water and Sewerage Board which were overstaffed. Instead of 4,000 employees, a huge number of 18,000 workers have been appointed at Water Board while 2,000 individuals have been hired in Site Limited instead of the required 500 staff members. This overstaffing was a serious issue and needs to be rectified, he stressed.
Vice Chairman BMG Anjum Nisar, in his remarks, underscored the need to improve the dilapidated infrastructure of industrial zones, particularly EPZA which was in terrible shape. He said that the performance of industrial sector depends on business and investment climate of Sindh and Karachi hence, the government must focus on developing the infrastructure of industrial zones otherwise, the industrial performance was likely to remain depressed and the exports will continue to go down. “If corrective steps were not taken, it would result in further plunging Pakistan’s exports from the existing US$20 billion to US$18 billion next year”, he feared.
Earlier, President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, in his welcome address, appreciated the efforts made by Sindh government, police and rangers towards restoring peace in Karachi but expressed concerns over rising street crimes and enhanced activities of land grabbing mafia.
To resolve issues being faced by the business and industrial community of Karachi, Younus Bashir underscored the need to make coordinated efforts between all the ministries and Karachi Chamber which would help in timely resolving numerous issues and help in creating a conducive business environment.
He also expressed disappointed over federal government inattentiveness towards the infrastructure development of Karachi which is the largest city of Pakistan and contributes a massive chunk of revenue to the national exchequer. He said that although Sindh produces 69 percent of total gas production yet the industries and CNG stations in Sindh have to face gas load shedding as gas resources of Sindh were being extended to other provinces which was highly unfair.
“We must be allowed to use gas as per our requirement and give surplus gas to other provinces as being done by KPK province”, he added and requested Manzoor Wassan to take up this serious issue with the federal government which, if resolved, would provide some sigh of relief to industrialists in Sindh who are really struggling hard to stay afloat due to intense competition and high cost of doing business.
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