The focus of Punjab Growth Strategy 2023 is on regional equalisation and human capital development, remarked Planning and Development Board Chairman Hamed Yaqoob.
In a meeting with members of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he stressed that the gap between public and private sectors needed to be bridged for growth of the province.
“The government of Punjab has recently established commercial courts for speedy resolution of commercial disputes,” he said.
Taking about the Punjab Revenue Authority, Yaqoob added that interaction between taxmen and taxpayers had been minimised through better utilisation of technology. He announced that a hi-tech testing lab was being established for industries, which would help enormously in exports and assist in reducing the cost of doing business.
“The government is focusing on human capital development as well,” he pointed out. To reduce the cost of land, a new simpler lease policy was being introduced. “The government wants to encourage the development of IT parks,” he said. At present, there was no institution to resolve the issues faced by the services sector, which made up 60% of Punjab’s economy, he regretted.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah appreciated the Planning and Development Board for reviewing the Punjab Growth Strategy 2023 in consultation with stakeholders.
According to him, it is a vital step as Punjab contributes around 54% to the national economy and houses 53% of the country’s population.
“There is a need to review government policies to facilitate businesses so that they can play a critical role in revival of the economy during the post-Covid era,” he added.
Giving recommendations, Misbah said there were over 100 provincial taxes applicable to businesses based in Punjab and urged the Planning and Development Board to reduce the number by clubbing them in a bid to steer ease of doing business.
Secondly, he said small businesses in Punjab were unable to contribute much to exports primarily because they received only 6.4% of private sector credit. “This issue needs special attention in the Punjab Growth Strategy,” he stressed.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2020.