LCCI outlines key priorities for budget 2013-14
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry LCCI has outlined key priorities for budget 2013-14 calling for an immediate attention of policy makers towards challenges being faced by economy.
In a statement issued here on Tuesday, LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar urged policy makers to focus on investing in energy solutions and enforcement of law and order; while lowering of tariffs on smuggling prone items, increasing the share of direct taxes in revenue and lowering the slab of indirect taxes in the forthcoming budget, in order to achieve key economic targets set for the year 2013-14.
In order to tackle energy shortages, LCCI president said, maximum funds should be allocated for construction of dams, water reservoirs, tapping of Thar Coal, completion of IranPakistan gas pipeline and establishment of LNG terminals.
The LCCI President said that at least Rs. 200 billion or 10% of the total budget should be allocated for hydel power projects; while Farooq Iftikhar said that Country's reliance on costly thermal power was jacking up the cost of production and the import bill as well.
He stressed that the country needed an urgent shift in its energy-mix in favor of hydel power and local fuels, while also calling for use of biogas, promoted throughout the rural sector both for electricity generation and gas for cooking besides producing bio fertilizer.
He said that the 175 billion tons of Thar coal reserves with a price tag of $ 13 trillion in the international market, were sufficient to provide 100,000 MW of electricity for 100 years, while uninterrupted and affordable power supplies can turn Pakistan into an economic powerhouse.
The LCCI President also hoped that maximum funds would also be made available for the early completion of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and LNG terminals to keep the industrial wheel running especially in Punjab that has borne the brunt of recent suspension of gas supplies to industry in the Country.
He expressed concerns over the dismal state of law and order, which was hurting Pakistan's potential as a highly attractive investment destina- tion. Foreign and investors are shying operating in Pakistan.
He also expressed his concerns that the fall in Foreign Direct Investment was likely to affect adversely the country's economic growth, and while all developed countries accorded special importance to economic issues and challenges, Pakistan's economy was on the bottom of policy makers' to-do list.
The LCCI President said that a number of sectors in Pakistan including infrastructure development, coal, energy, agriculture, livestock, textiles and pharmaceutical offer lucrative investment opportunities to foreign investors but unfortunately due to absence of a proper and well tailored marketing strategy, these opportunities are unattended even today.
Farooq Iftikhar also urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to cut the rate of duties on all smuggling-prone items in order to check smuggling of plastic molding compound, electronics, Chemicals, fabrics and tryres and tubes.
The LCCI President also suggested that the Sales tax slab should immediately be curtailed in order to reduce inflationary pressures. local from