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Proper use of govt construction package can bolster economic growth: PCJCCI SVP Moazzazzam Ali Ghurk

The government has given a land mark package to the construction industry which if used properly can bring unprecedented economic growth. Soft loans for housing prompt provision of no objection certificates, subsidies on housing, reduction in taxes all are good favors for the construction industry. The “Covid-19 pandemic had caused an unprecedented recession across the world leaving countries scrambling to keep the economic wheel turning which has come to grinding halt. The package will enable economy to make prompt recovery

Jahangir Hayat

The government has given a land-mark package to the construction industry which if used properly can bring unprecedented economic growth and development.
To enhance the halal food export from Pakistan, meat development should be undertaken; poultry is another area requiring innovations. The government should evolve a comprehensive post-corona economic strategy as the post-corona era will be challenging for the economy of Pakistan. The situation that developed due to coronavirus has caused huge losses to the industrial production of various countries and Pakistan can give a quantum jump to its export once the circumstances comes to normal.
The views were shared by Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry PCJCCI Senior Vice President Muazzam Ghurki while talking The Business here.
Following are some excerpts from interview:
What is your opinion about the government package for the construction industry and how can the government get out of it to for the economic growth and development?
The government has given a land mark package to the construction industry which if used properly can bring unprecedented economic growth. Soft loans for housing prompt provision of no objection certificates, subsidies on housing, reduction in taxes all are good favors for the construction industry. The “Covid-19 pandemic had caused an unprecedented recession across the world leaving countries scrambling to keep the economic wheel turning which has come to grinding halt. The package will enable economy to make prompt recovery.
However, the government needs to evolve a comprehensive strategy whereby public and private sectors could work together without any hurdles. The package will play a central role in the country which is a dire need of the hour.
Q: What is the food potential of Pakistan and how can it be explored?
Ans: Pakistan has an enormous unexplored food potential of Halal Food. Unfortunately, the potential is not be tap properly. Global Halal food market stands at $1 trillion but Pakistan’s total halal food exports share is not more than $200million which needs to be increased. To enhance the halal food export from Pakistan, meat development should be undertaken; poultry is another area requiring Innovations.
Q: What measures has the PCJCCI have taken to enhance halal food exports?
Ans: For the first time we have established halal food standing committee and stake holders were invited for the input. B to B meeting of the local and international business men were arranged so that may be able to export halal food especial to China and other countries of the world where the food is in great demand. Unfortunately, COVID-19 breakout wreaks havoc with all settings. However, we are determined to enhance halal food exports and restart the work once the Covid-19 pandemic ends. We will arrange delegations and for this we have taken commercial counselors on-board.
Q: How has COVID-19 pandemic hit trade and industry? And what the government should do to fix the economy after the pandemic crisis end?
Ans: The government should evolve a comprehensive post-corona economic strategy as the post-corona era would be challenging for the economy of Pakistan. The situation, developed due to coronavirus, has caused a huge loss to the industrial production of various countries therefore Pakistan can give a quantum jump to its export once the circumstances came to normal. The private sector should keep close contacts in Central Asian States, Africa and South America while government should support export-oriented industry through resolving their issues so that it can grab the opportunities in true sense of word. Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Chile do not require introduction in Pakistan if discussed under the subjects of trade, geography, culture and ethnicity etc. But in economic scenario, they carry an inadequate eminence among us. The government and private sector should recognize the importance of these regions and should gear up efforts to strengthen trade and economic ties with these countries. Bilateral discussions should be held between the diplomats and private sectors of these countries whenever it is possible. The trade relations with South America must be touched the core of available opportunities, which are still overlooked or minimally exercised. We are also signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mexico Chamber of Commerce and Industry and will be conducting Zoom meetings to explore trade and industry potential with the South America. Pakistan has to focus other than the traditional partners to gain more economic benefits and give boost to the national exports. The upcoming global economic shift would be more advantageous for us if we extend its economic associations towards South America that is not a traditional trade destination for Pakistan merchandise.
Q: How has COVID-19 impacted the employment rate in the country and what the government should do to address the issue?
Ans: Yes, the impact of COVID-19 will be long lasting a large number of employees have been rendered unemployed and in order to contain unemployment we have to open all the sector under their SOPs and if we don’t do that unemployment will shoot up which will trigger criminal activities and the situation will be difficult to control by the government and it is, therefore, the government should start opening various sectors ensuring the SOPs to be able to overcome the challenging situation. All the stakeholders, including trade organisations, associations and the chambers should be taken on board in this regard. We want the government to discuss with us in adopting a comprehensive strategy for the future.
Q: What is your take on the Federal Budget 2020-21 and how good or bad is it for trade and industry?
Ans: Removal of the reservation of business community Federal Budget 2020-21 will pave way for collective efforts to cope with the ongoing and post-COVID-19 economic challenges. The government has presented a good trade and industry friendly Budget 2020-21 that too in really challenging times when the economy has been adversely hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Various measures have been taken in the Federal Budget 2020-21 which would have a profound impact on the Economy and Businesses. The business community applauds the government for showing clear intent of promoting industrialization in the country because in the budget, custom duty has been reduced on 40 raw-materials of various industries. Furthermore, the Government has reduced customs duty on 90 tariff lines from 11% to 3% and 0%. The government has also exempted additional custom duties on those tariff lines which are at 0% customs duty. In order to enhance the competitiveness of the Iron and Steel Industry in the country, the government has reduced the regulatory duty from 12.5% and 17.5% to 6% and 11% respectively on Hot Rolled Coils. The reduction in Federal Excise Duty on cement from Rs. 2 per kg to Rs. 1.75 per kg will help to boost the construction sector which will be the main source of employment generation in the post-covid economic scenario as more than 40 allied industries are related to the construction industry. The fundamental demand of reduction in sales tax from 17 percent to single digit was not accepted, as not a single percent cut in ST has been proposed in the budget. No policy has been announced to reduce the energy cost that is one of the biggest reasons for high input cost. Demands of interest-free loans for registered small businesses and removal of withholding tax and end to advance tax at import stage have not been accepted.
However, reduction in regulatory duty on some smuggling prone items to keep these goods under legal imports is good, regulatory duty on several industrial inputs is also being reduced to reduce cost of doing business, tariff protection for domestic industry by increasing regulatory duty on import of those items which are also locally manufactured, incentivizing soap manufacturing industry by reducing rate of additional customs duty and enhancing scope of concessions available to Special Economic Zones.
Q: Do you see any special measures taken by the government in the Budget to enhance exports?
Ans: Exports are the lifeline of Pakistan’s economy. A strong narrative for enhancing exports has been missing in the Federal Budget 2020-21. The Budget should be export centric, containing strong incentives for our industry to fetch more export revenues. Before the Budget passed by the parliament, major allocations for the formation of testing labs for our export oriented sectors. There should be a special incentive regime for IT and Halal Food sectors as both the sectors can play an instrumental role in enhancing our exports.

Profile

PCJCCI SVP Moazzam Ali Ghurki ‘s Intute (Pvt) Ltd has gone through many changes and challenges for more than 13 years and has emerged as a company with significant growth. We have achieved our goals in various fields with continuous team effort. “Intute” family is known for its timeless aspirations and smart ways to achieve their tasks. In time completion of our projects with sustained quality is the asset of our company. I have no doubt in my mind that our caring group of competent people will lead a way for a brighter future for Intute (Pvt) Ltd. I am incredibly excited about the journey we have made so far and sincerely believe that the best of Intute (Pvt) Ltd is yet to come.

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