ISLAMABAD: The businessmen of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have called upon the government to share full information of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project with them as holding back its complete detail is creating many concerns.
This was the upshot when a delegation of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), led by President Zahid Latif Khan, visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). Senior Vice President Nasir Mirza, Vice President Khalid Farooq Qazi, group leader Sohail Altaf, former presidents and executive members of RCCI were also in the delegation.
A joint statement by ICCI President Sheikh Amir Waheed and RCCI President Zahid Latif Khan said that an industrial zone under CPEC was planned for Rawalpindi and Islamabad, but regrettably, the government has not consulted the respective chambers regarding its location and the industries to be set in it. They stressed that the said industrial zone should be established in consultation with them.
They said that the businessmen of twin cities were supportive of the CPEC project, but their only concern was that the local industry should not get hurt. They added that the businessmen wanted to know the details of incentives government have finalised for Chinese and local investors in CPEC and tax concessions for Chinese and local industrialists on the import of machinery, but such information was not made public.
They further said that the businessmen are key stakeholders in CPEC and government should have taken them on board so that they can prepare themselves to maximize business prospects from this mega development project. They urged that government should immediately share the full detail of CPEC with them to remove their concerns.
Sheikh Amir Waheed and Zahid Latif Khan discussed Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) related issues including raids on business premises, installation of real-time monitoring system on restaurants, attachment of bank accounts, high taxes on real estate sector and enforcement of 40B etc. They emphasised that FBR should address these issues; otherwise, they would launch joint efforts to safeguard their business interests.
They also demanded that Pakistan Standards Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) should take both chambers on board for compliance of standards by retailers.
The issues related to Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), social security and labour inspectors were also discussed and it was agreed that both chambers would take a united stand on such issues. Both chambers also agreed to form a joint committee for close liaison and making joint efforts to resolve common issues.
They said that the sit-ins in the twin cities badly affect the business activities and business community has to face great problems due to this culture. They urged that the administrations of both cities should designate separate place for such activities away from the twin cities to avoid further losses.
ICCI group leader Khalid Javed, RCCI group leader Sohail Altaf, Abdul Rauf Alam, SM Naseem, Zubair Ahmed Malik, Mian Akram Fareed, Asad Mashadi, Tariq Sadiq, Kashif Shabbir, Zahid Maqbool, Mian Shaukat Masud, Humayun Pervaiz, Ejaz Abbasi, Ahmed Mughal, Baser Daud and others also spoke at the occasion.