State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali has stated that a detailed discussion between Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the business community regarding Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (FCCI) budget proposal is on the cards.
As the budget announcement draws closer, several members of the business community have offered the government suggestions, hoping that some of them will find its way to the Finance Ministry.
The minister for power was addressing a pre-budget seminar jointly organised by FCCI and Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan.
Budget proposals: Economic woes need to be addressed collectively
He said that despite severe financial constraints, the present government has successfully resolved the energy crisis. “Load-shedding in the industrial sector has become zero while gas shortage has also been resolved,” said Ali. “Prime Minister himself will announce issuance of new gas connections within the next few weeks.”
Ali added that power generation in Pakistan was just 13,500 MW three years ago when the PML-N came into power which has now jumped to 18,000MW while many more power plants are also under construction.
However, while commenting on the poor water storage capacity in Pakistan, he said, “We are draining out 28 MAF water into the sea as wastage. The cost of this water comes to $18 billion per annum.” Ali said that the mega project of Gwadar Port was nearing completion and is expected to become functional by 2017. It would ensure reliable connectivity for the expeditious economic activity in this entire region which will also bring prosperity in Pakistan, he hoped.
The minister further said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will influence the entire region and the government wants to ensure all problems confronted by the business community are resolved.
He said that he has discussed the refund issue with the finance minister who has assured to pay the pending exporters’ claims. “Hopefully the payment of refund claims will start in the next couple of weeks,” he added.
IMF says Pakistan ready to go it alone when programme ends
Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana M. Afzal Khan appreciated the budget proposals of FCCI and ICMAP and said that Pakistan is gradually heading towards economic stability.
FCCI Acting President Syed Zia Alamdar Hussain said that the next federal budget should focus on the facilitation of the private sector.
He demanded uniform taxation systems without any exemptions and said that it would not only expand the tax base but also help the government collect more revenue.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2016.
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