Punjab governor asks govt to address private sector’s concerns on CPEC

  • Advises ICCI to send written proposal for Islamabad industrial zone to PM, CM
  • Urges Punjab govt to find land for SEZ near federal capital

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana said on Friday that bringing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Pakistan was a major achievement of the current government as China came for investment in Pakistan on soft terms in CPEC at a difficult time.

He further said that the government of Pakistan should address the genuine concerns of the private sector on CPEC so that the project could contribute to the promotion of the local industry as well.

Punjab governor, while addressing the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) during his visit to Chamber House, said that he had discussed the concerns of the business community on CPEC with the Chinese ambassador and added that China was interested in JVs and investment in textile, steel and agriculture sector in Pakistan.

Rafique Rajwana said that the business community was the backbone of the economy and the government should address its key issues to facilitate the growth of business activities. Regarding the industrial zone in Islamabad, he advised ICCI to send a written proposal to the prime minister and Punjab chief minister and send him a copy as well so that he could play a role for the establishment of a new industrial zone for the business communities of the twin cities.

He said that businessmen were making useful contributions to the tax revenue and stressed that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should take measures to reduce trust deficit with taxpayers. He said running a business should be made easy to promote economic activities in the country.  He assured the business community that he would act as their spokesperson and would take up their highlighted issues with the relevant government authorities, including the prime minister.

In his welcome address, ICCI President Sheikh Amir Waheed said that Special Economic Zone was planned in Islamabad under CPEC, but CDA could not find land for SEZ as yet. He said that Punjab government should cooperate in finding suitable land in the vicinity of federal capital for SEZ.

The ICCI president also said that the local industry needed upgradation to compete with CPEC and the government should remove duties on import of industrial machinery. He further said that high power tariffs and taxes should also be reduced for reducing the production cost. He said that overall 28% tax on export of manpower which was imposed by Punjab government should be reduced to promote manpower export. He said that the government should remove the sales tax on purchases as no other country was imposing taxes on purchases.

ICCI Senior Vice President Muhammad Naveed, ICCI Vice President Nisar Mirza, Founder Group Chairman Zubair Ahmed Malik, Mian Akram Farid, Khalid Iqbal Malik, Mian Shaukat Masud, Baser Daud, Sheikh Pervez Ahmed, Khalid Chaudhry, Naeem Siddiqui and others also spoke on the occasion.

They said Pakistan’s exports had fallen, imports had risen, trade deficit had surged and foreign remittances had reduced and stressed that government should pay urgent attention to these issues to improve the economy.