Anjum Nisar says Pakistan’s core issue is high cost of doing business

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Anjum Nisar says Pakistan's core issue is high cost of doing business

ISLAMABAD, MAR 17: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s Businessmen Panel (BMP) has asked the government to work on a fast track plan to address expansive energy issue and priority should be given to the value-added industry in this regard.

The FPCCI former president and BMP Chairman Mian Anjum Nisar said that Pakistan’s core issue is the high cost of doing business, which the government needed to bring down to bring the local as well as the export industry at par with global competitors.

The BMP Chairman urged for increasing ease of doing business, lowering cost of production, paying early refunds to solve liquidity crunch, relaxing import policy for industrial raw material, and equalizing the energy tariff across the country.

He said Pakistan was at 147 out of 190 countries on the global ranking of doing business mainly due to bureaucratic hurdles. He said various provincial departments, including EOBI, Social Security, Women Welfare, Environment Department etc. were playing a negative role and treating the manufacturers and exporters like criminals.

The FPCCI former president called for giving a boost to the export sector by adopting diversified marketing techniques and extending practical support to the industry, and asked the exporters to prepare themselves for meeting the global challenges so that exports could be enhanced by fully exploiting new opportunities. He also stressed the need for adopting new technology so that Pakistan’s exports may be able to cope with the emerging challenges in international arena.

He urged the government to undertake thorough research and also brief the SMEs of the details of such challenges. He hoped that the government would help boost country’s exports, while all the macro and micro issues of the trade and commerce should also be addressed.

He said that growth of economy was a must to steer the industry of worse situation and contribute to the exports of the country. He observed that the domestic industry should be allowed to grow while enjoying the right to avail opportunities against the competitors.

The businessmen leader said the benefits of the GSP Plus status can only be harvested by maximum value-addition in finished products rather than exporting only raw materials, which cannot be possible without relaxation in import policies.

The Businessmen Panel (BMP) chairman said that business community has been facing tough challenges because of limited business. In this context, he sought attention of the government for formulation of regional, provincial and central level task force, and formulation of sector wise regional policies which would help the government address the problems confronted by exporters.

The FPCCI former president called for promoting industrialisation and enhancing exports through lowering cost of production, paying early refunds to solve liquidity crunch and relaxing import policy for industrial raw material.

Mian Anjum Nisar asked the government to appreciate the role of industry for its potential to harvest maximum benefits, providing mass employment to the jobless population of the country. He also sought government’s attention for formulating aggressive marketing plan and hurdle-free policies as well as urgent decisions in favour of exports while taking on board major stakeholders. He called for concerted efforts for exploring new markets both traditional and non-traditional in order to introduce home made products. He urged the government to announce favourable policies and allow duty-free import of raw material and accessories. This move will attract investors and help in setting up new industries in the country which will create wide opportunities for employment. We direly need a stimulus economic plan coupled with relief package by the government to maximise production. He also emphasized the need for seeking technical knowhow from China and other countries for the sake of innovation, and improvement of products.

The BMP chairman said the sustainable solution to Pakistan’s problems lies in reforms, as we can see very large inefficiencies in tax collection. So, the tax compliance must be improved and tax base be broadened. This cannot be achieved with a single policy change, but by a systemic approach, he added.

He observed the government preferred direct taxation to meet revenue shortfall as opposed to resorting to increasing indirect taxes because direct taxes tend to be more progressive in nature; therefore, the burden on the lower income strata of the population is lesser. He emphasised that concentrating on import substitution is imperative to narrow import bills and certain imported products such as oil are of a fixed nature; therefore, the government needs to enhance focus on import substitution industries, as chemicals, agriculture and steel are potential industries.

He said that undertaking structural reforms require political will. He said that enacting structural reforms, such as improvements in tax collection system, bureaucracy and ease of doing business requires major political will and strict implementation of policies, he added.