MULTAN: President of Multan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) Muhammad Sarfraz has said that depreciation of rupee and increase in prices of POL products would unleash a new wave of inflation for common man and affect growth of business activities. Increase gas price will put pressure on industry besides increase current account deficit and cost of electricity that will hurt industrial production and exports as well.
Addressing the executive committee of MCCI here he said that the industrial sector has already been facing high cost of doing business, declining exports, higher cost of import-inputs for value addition and high rate of taxation since long. He was of the view that governments should safeguard interest of industrial sector.
He said that liquidity and meeting production targets have become problems for export oriented sector of the country and they were braving their international competitors in textile, garments, leather, surgical, stone and other exports to compete.
In comparison of low cost POL prices for all economic sectors, exports of India, Bangladesh and Turkey have been crossed $268.6 billion, $ 34.14 billion and $150.2 billion respectively while Pakistan is running with around $21 billion, he added.
He feared that Dollar would reach at Rs.150 if Government failed to control this situation. He said that our stock exchange was facing uncertainty and government was planning to impose new taxes of Rs.180 billion on the already registered tax-payers while non-filers were being neglected as usual.
Former presidents of MCCI Mian Farid Mughis Sheikh, Khawaja Muhammad Usman, and Former President of FPCCI Mian Tanvir A Sheikh suggested that government should explore new tax-payers and it must widen its tax-net instead of slaughtering the existing tax-payers. They further suggested that government should introduce uniform tariff of electricity, gas, other utilities and taxes in the country to facilitate the business community.
They demanded that Government should pay refund claims of Rs200 billion because industry was facing liquidity crunch. The participants of the meeting decided to gather all the chambers of south Punjab on one platform to raise voice for common cause. The meeting also discussed the excellence award ceremony and sending trade delegations to different countries and suggested that Government should provide relief to tax-payers. The meeting was also attended by Senior Vice President Khawaja Badar Munir, Vice President Sheikh Muhammad Amjad, Majid-ullah Khan,Khawaja Riaz Hussain Siddiqui, Naeem Ahmed Sheikh, Bakhsh Elahi,Muhammad Tariq Khan, Mian Rashid Iqbal,Aasim Saeed Sheikh, Khawaja Muhammad Farooq, Syed Iftikhar Shah, Syed Ijaz Shah, Khawaja Muhammad Hussain,Mirza Ali Ahmed,Afshan Gilani, Sarwat Zahra and Khurram Javed Secretary General of MCCI.
They were of the view that this move of increasing gas and POL prices and depreciation of currency will force producers to pass on the cost to the consumers. On top of that, production cost will increase, making our exports more noncompetitive than it already is. As a reminder, Pakistan’s current trade deficit is already at a staggering $37.7 billion, an all-time high, and Pakistan’s total reserves are down by 18.21% compared to last year. We need to strengthen our exports which are already on a dangerous downward trajectory.