Budget 2020-21 of utmost importance for putting economy on path of growth: Zeshan Khalil

ST, FTR, BTL, duty and tax slabs need to be rationalized, CNIC condition on transactions does not seem logical and be removed at once in larger national interest

Jahangir Hayat

LAHORE: Pakistan’s economy has been bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 for the last two months and the upcoming Federal Budget 20-21 is of utmost importance in putting the economy on the path of growth and development.

This was stated by Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) former vice president and a top commercial and industrial importer of hardware raw-material and products Zeshan Khalil while talking to Daily The Business on the other day.

He said that Pakistan’s trade with China has been devastated due to the COVID-19 outbreak since December 2019 due to which Pakistan’s manufacturing sector showed a steep decline as most of the raw-material was imported from China.

“The Chinese counterparts were in the lockdown and would not able to supply. However, manufacturing, exports and trading were ditched in Pakistan creating a huge gap. After than Pakistan initiated lockdown for the last two month and there took place no reasonable trade and industry, halting the wheels of the economy. Then come the Eid holidays. All that has created a huge cash crunch with the traders and industrialists,” he said, the government must have to consider the whole scenario while announcing the federal budget to enable the businessmen to restart their businesses.

“In this context Sales Tax (ST), Final Tax regime (FTR), Below Tax Limit (BTL) and duty and tax slabs need to be rationalized. ST must be brought down to single digit and tax slabs must be increased to a significant level, providing much needed relief to the trade and industry to harness the economy thereby,” Khalil suggested, adding that business-friendly budget is the need of the hour.

Talking about the CNIC limits, he said that under the current circumstances CNIC condition on the transactions does not seem logical and the condition be removed at once in the larger national interest.

He said that the impediment can further obstruct the already shambled trade and industry.

The condition must be removed right away or the limit should be increased from 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 as the condition is quelling the business activities, damaging the economy by manifolds, Khalil highlighted.

While talking about the Customs duty, he urged the government to take special measure to reduce customs duties on the raw-materials to encourage manufacturing to enhance export volume.

He also drew the attention towards announcing far-reaching policy in upcoming budget about the exorbitant and illegal detention and demurrages charges plucking the wings of the shipping lines and the private port terminal operators who kept defying the clear-cut instruction of the authorizes and extended no relief to the commercial and industrial importers.

He said that despite repeated requests and written orders by the government functionaries including FBR neither the shipping lines nor the private port terminal operators considered the genuine concern of the business community in giving relief on account of detention and demurrages.

“The terminal authorities have rejected the relief announced by FBR to extend the free period at terminals for charging demurrage in line with the lockdown extension in the country,” Zeshan said , adding that at a time when federal as well as the provincial governments are endeavoring to facilitate the business community on account of the lockdown the terminal authorities and shipping companies have turned deaf ear on FBR and other government functionaries which is an utter violation of the PM’s directives to facilitate the businesses.

Federal Budget 2020-21for putting economyis of utmost importanceon path of growthZeshan Khalil
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