MULTAN: The Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) has resented the move of the government to impose regulatory duty on import of 36 new items and hike in duty on 234 existing items to curtail trade deficit.
The MCCI termed it an ‘unwise decision’ and said that it would unleash a new wave of inflation in the country, affect growth of business activities and bring more miseries to the common man.
MCCI President Malik Asrar Ahmed Awan said announcing a mini-budget almost at the start of the financial year shows lack of planning on the part of the policy-makers because such unexpected measures create problems for business activities and put more burden on the general public. He said regulatory duty has been increased up to 50% on many eatable items including fruits and vegetables that would put extra burden on the masses apart from affecting business activities.
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The MCCI chief stressed that the government should review hike in regulatory duty, especially on eatable items. He said the government should not enhance duty on imported items that were being used as raw material/inputs for manufacturing of local products as hike in duty on such items would cause further dip in exports.
“Instead of enhancing the regulatory duty on imports to cover the trade deficit, the government should focus on addressing the key issues of exporters to facilitate the growth of exports,” he said.
“Our exports have declined by almost 20% since 2013-14, after attaining the peak level of $25 billion, but the government remained inactive to arrest the declining trend in exports.”
He said Pakistan mostly depended on textiles for exports while exports of other items including agriculture and SMEs have taken a big hit during the last many years.
“It shows that no tangible efforts were made to broaden and diversify the export base due to which our imports have gone up and exports have come down,” he remarked.
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The MCCI president stressed that the government should reduce taxes on manufacturing inputs, take strong measures to ensure easy availability of credit to the private sector from commercial banks and address key issues of SMEs that would help in promoting exports and reducing trade deficit.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2017.
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