M J Hayat
Like in the Middle East joint ventures of Pakistani and Chinese businessmen should be made mandatory to fully exploit the potential of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) beside the government must take onboard to the local stakeholders including chambers of commerce and trade association with respect to the policy making about the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
Pakistan needs to enhance the quantum production of made for China as Pakistan is exporting minor $2 billion exports to China while importing over Rs $18 billion from there.
In an exclusive interview to Daily The Business, Pakistan China Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) President SM Naveed made
these deliberation in depth and detail here at his office the other day.
“The mini budget has become a talk of the town and there are rumours that the PTI government may enhance the taxes. Increasing taxes would increase burden on the existing taxpayers demoralizing them.
Instead of rising taxes and the tax rate the government had better increase the tax-net,” he opined.
To a question about enhancing exports, he replied that there is an urgent need to rationallize intra-provinces gas rate. Quoting example of Punjab, Sindh and other provinces, he said that Punjab is paying Rs 13 for per unit while Sindh and other province are paying Rs 6 for per unit.
There must be a level-playing field for all the manufacturers in the city to make Pakistani products competitiveness first in the country.
Talking about the long standing issue of stuck up rebates, Naveed stated that the previous government had announced to disburse over Rs180 billion pending refunds to the manufacturers but just Rs 25 billion of the announce d amount was sanctioned to be release that too is in the pipeline.
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“The refund money of the importers and the manufacturers are of immense importance as we have to borrow funds on huge rates of interests due to which per unit cost escalates triggering inflation and making our products less competitive around the world,” he said adding that the government should take serious measures to release refund money of the stakeholders.
In answer to another question about the Indian Pakistan trade, the PCJCCI.
president opined that the focus of the business community has fixed on the trade and business with China and in future the trade ties with China to be further boosted.
“Amidst the equation we should be focusing on Made for China as our exports to China are just $2billion while our imports from China have escalated to $16-18 billion.
“Pakistani textiles and halal food has the enormous export potential and these products have a vast China market.
What we need to explore the true potential is to `facilitate the local industry to extend them the level-playing field,” he highlighted.
Answering a question about the expectation from the newly elected government of PTI, he said that the new government should work to facilitate the trade and industry in order to make the economy strong.
He held that as a first resort the government must rationalise the energy rates of energy including gas and electricity.
While giving the formula for economic independence, he said there are a number of issues that must be tackled on priority; the biggest one is how to keep the momentum of growth in the wake of a less than targeted growth of the Agriculture and the manufacturing sector.
The second one is the widening gap between exports and imports that could be contained by enhancing exports.
He held that that the government would also have to focus on agriculture, manufacturing sector, education, water, human resources,
minerals, public health, tax collection system and end of corruption should be focused to get rid of economic worries.
Sharing his point of view about Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) in
Pakistan he said that PSEs are strategic assets of the country and have the ability to lead economic growth but instead these are inefficient and causing huge loss to the national exchequer, he said, adding that
the significance of PSEs cannot be ignored, in view of the fact that they remain the most employment-intensive and capital-intensive organizations.
He said that experts and economists should be consulted for new strategy and methodologies to give momentum to the falling Public Sector Enterprises.
He said that PSEs of Pakistan should continue to remain the backbone
of the economy and therefore their revival is critical to our economic survival.
He said that it is all the more necessary for the government to increase its efforts for revival of the PSEs.
Greater autonomy and non interference in their functioning have to be guaranteed so that the country can fully reap full the benefits of PSEs.
He added that PSEs are not only industries for short-term economic and
commercial gains but are our national assets.
To a query, the facility of Open Account for all importers, he said that State Bank of Pakistan introduced open account facility for the importers in 2017 to promote international trade, under which the condition for submission of the original shipping/transport documents to authorised dealer by the importers was terminated.
“It was a great favour to the importers but now the open account facility has been withdrawn by the State Bank of Pakistan for some importers without any solid reason.
To another query about the CPEC, he clarified that Chinese are setting up
labour intensive industry in Pakistan and the government should made it mandatory not to allow the Chinese companies to set up independent units.
There should be binding for Chinese to strike joint venture with the Pakistani businessmen and industrialists which would be helpful for further capacity building of the local industrialists and manufacturing contributing to the national economic growth, he said adding that the government should bind the Chinese set up for their units in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
He clarified that Chinese have never been given any special facility and both local and Chinese businessmen are given the same treatment.
The Chinese should be allowed business in Pakistan on the condition that every Chinese concern must have to strike partnership with the local businessmen and without the collaboration of the local businessmen the local industry would suffer and will lose opportunity to build their capacity, he concluded.