LAHORE: Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar has said trade and industry would be given due consideration and special relief in federal budget 2021-22.
“Covid-19 has posed serious challenges to economy and the government is making all out efforts to bring economy back on track”, the minister said in a meeting with president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce, Mian Tariq Misbah, who visited Islamabad to engage with various policymakers to make policy advocacy to convey the viewpoint of the business community before budget. The purpose of these interactions was to have favourable policies for facilitating trade and industry to the maximum extent.
The LCCI president had meetings with the parliamentarians including Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib and Cabinet Secretary Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera and presented doable suggestions for revival of trade, industry and economy.
During the meeting with Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, the LCCI president discussed the LCCI budget proposals for FY 2021-22 and called for special treatment for the trade and industry in the context of Covid-19.
The minister assured full government support to the trade and industry for economic revival. About energy sector, Hammad Azhar said a structured approach is being adopted for timely completion of projects in power sector. He said that circular debt, upgrade of transmission & distribution system and improved service delivery in the power sector are the areas of prime focus. He said high cost of electricity generation, circular debt and leakages in the transmission system have made the power sector financially challenging.
“The key focus of the reform process is to bring efficiency, cost effectiveness and sustainability to the system”, the minister added. In the meetings with State Minister for Information Farrukh Habib and Cabinet Secretary Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, the LCCI president particularly discussed the miseries of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Farrukh Habib said that arrangements for bank financing to the SMEs have not given the desired results. “We are making dedicated financial arrangements for the SMES, other than banks”, he said, adding foreign companies have also been invited to support SME sector in Pakistan. Mian Tariq Misbah said SME sector is one of the major victims of Covid-19, therefore, the government should introduce supportive policies. He said Small & Medium Enterprises are backbone of the economy and their role is crucial for economic development of the country. A good workable policy should be evolved for the Small & Medium Enterprises in consultation with the stakeholders.
The LCCI president said that major issue of SMEs is limited access to the financing. He said only 7.27 per cent of total lending to private sector is being given to the SME sector that is meager and should be enhanced.
Mian Tariq Misbah informed the decision makers feedback from the private sector plays a fundamental role in formulating appropriate policies for the trade, industry and economy.
Being premier chamber of the country, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has forwarded a set of proposals for the federal budget 2021-22 to the Ministry of Finance, Federal Board of Revenue and other related departments.
He said LCCI budget proposals are a composition of the issues being faced by the business community and recommendations for their best possible solution.
“The LCCI budget proposals for Financial Year 2021-22 have covered all sectors of economy including taxation, trade, industry, power, engineering, pharmaceuticals, rice, Halal food, imports, exports etc.”, the LCCI president said and hoped that these would be made part of the upcoming federal budget.