Businessmen have demanded a relief-focused budget for trade and industry and recommended the government to make a sizable reduction in taxes to help revive businesses in the country.
In a meeting to review budget proposals on Saturday, Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) Chairman Mian Nauman Kabir called for prioritising incentives for documented and registered small and medium enterprises (SMEs) rather than the imposition of new taxes.
The business community understands that the government is making all-out efforts to overcome economic challenges but at the same time, the private sector considers itself duty-bound to point out the hurdles in the way of speedy economic recovery, he said.
He suggested the government reduce power tariffs for all trade and industrial sectors to 7.5 cents per kwh. With a view to improving access to finance for SMEs, the association urged the government to introduce interest-free loans for documented SMEs.
Besides, the existing credit limits applicable on loans for traders should be enhanced. The PIAF chairman was of the view that the source of income should not be asked from investors willing to pour money in any sector of the economy for the next two years.
“Covid-19 has badly affected businesses and industries and the government should curb sales tax to a single digit and reduce key policy interest rate to at least 5% in order to facilitate the growth of business activities and improve revenue,” he said.
Also speaking on the occasion, PIAF Vice-Chairman Javed Siddiqi said that the ratio of taxation and import duties should be brought down significantly. He further demanded waiver of income tax and additional income tax which would facilitate trade and industries and ensure their survival.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2021.