Business community terms finance bill investor-friendly

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, JAN 23: Federal Minister of Finance Revenue and Economic Affairs, Asad Umer delivering Finance Supplementary Bill during assembly session, at National Assembly in Islamabad on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. (PPI Images).

The business community has largely termed the newly-presented finance bill as investment-friendly and positive in terms of future economic growth.

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) President Daru Khan Achakzai appreciated the economic reforms package announced by the Finance Minister Asad Umar and said, “The package has accommodated the recommendations of the business community.”

He assured of all cooperation from the business community.

Achakzai said that reducing income tax rates for banks’ profits derived from SMEs, agriculture and low-cost housing financing would encourage investment and business expansion.

FPCCI Senior Vice President Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig hailed the proposal to reduce duties on import of raw materials, adding that this would bring the cost of doing business down, which was a long demand of the business community.

He said that the country’s exports would increase to $40 billion in three years.

It was opined that the withdrawal of withholding tax on bank transactions for filers would benefit both traders and common man alike. Business leaders are of the view that allowing non-filers to buy up to 1300CC cars will encourage people to become filers.

All machinery imports for renewable energy (solar and wind) power plants will be tax, customs, and levies free. Fantastic measure,” remarked columnist Mosharraf Zaidi.

TV analyst Shahzad Iqbal, in his message on Twitter, said, “Call it mini-budget or call it amendment in finance bill but the changes made are very business and investors friendly… It should give business community much-needed confidence.”

Renowned journalist Hamid Mir said the development will give “some relief to middle class, small traders and newspapers.”

“This mini-budget will have positive impact on our economy,” predicted TV anchor Kamran Khan.

On the other hand, columnist Uzair Younus argued that the finance bill will increase domestic borrowing. “I am not sure about how this will plug Pakistan’s fiscal deficit. If the fiscal deficit continues to grow rapidly, the govt will have to increase domestic borrowing, which will create inflationary pressure and may force SBP to raise interest rates,” he tweeted.

He said the changes “should unleash significant investment in renewable energy!”