A delegation of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) headed by Mian Anjum Nisar, President FPCCI called on Prime Minister, Imran Khan at Chief Minister’s House Lahore recenlty. Sardar Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar, Chief Minister Punjab, Mr. Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Minister for Industries and Production and Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) were also present during the meeting.
Issues relating to various sectors of the economy, trade (exports/imports) problems being faced by exporters and importers in cross border trading particularly Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade APTTA ease of doing business, enhancement of country’s export, input costs and taxation issues were discussed during the meeting.
Mian Anjum Nisar, President FPCCI said that there is a significant need for Pakistan to boost its exports to reduce worsening trade deficit. COVID-19 has added to miseries of the export sector amid global slowdown and in the wake of corona pandemic many global brands are facing bankruptcy whose impact will also fall on the export industry of Pakistan. While Pakistan trade and industry is facing severe liquidity crunch due to imposition of multiple taxes and the refunds of sales/ income tax worth billions of rupees are stuck up with the government, which need to be addressed on priority basis for the survival of our economy.
COVID-19 pandemic has utmost destructed every business sector and drastically suffered especially in lockdown. It is one of the core challenges for the business community to overcome economic crises. The Agriculture sector, Construction, Education, Textile, Food and Tourism sectors are on the verge of extinction.
He further stated that promotion of exports should be given priority. Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Interior NCOC should find solution to remove hurdles that are impeding Pakistan foreign trade particularly exports to Afghanistan and flow of traffic and blockage be removed.
President FPCCI highlighted that SME sector is the most vulnerable and it is anticipated that the SME sector will require immediate monetary aid. Government should issue Zero Markup loans to the SMEs for the survival of the SME sector otherwise it is utterly declared that SME will be shut down due to insufficient funds.
The meeting between FPCCI delegation and Prime Minister of Pakistan also discussed various avenues of export promotion and problems being faced at port as detention/demurrage charges which are at a higher side than rest of the world and discouraging our trade.
Mian Anjum Nisar, President FPCCI while addressing to the Chief Minister Punjab highlighted that Wheat quota needs to be increased in order to stabilize its price and availability in the market. Whilst discussing the matters of Cotton sector, he also added that per acre yield rate is low as compared to the international market, Pakistan has produced 14.5 million bales in the past where as this year the production has reduced to 8.5 million bales.
Prime Minister, Imran Khan consciously focused on all pressing issues pertaining economy and business community and responded positively and assured that all submissions will be considered seriously and action will be taken upon on priority basis. He said all issues and concerns are genuine and require immediate attention. Incase need be directives will be addressed to the relevant Ministries for the follow up till matters are resolved. He further stated that Pak-Afghan Border issue has been prolonged for quite some time now and will be resolved in a week; also blockage will be removed allowing traffic flow to resume as previously before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief Minister Punjab, Sardar Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar appreciated efforts of Mian Anjum Nisar, President FPCCI for representing the issues of the business community which is the backbone of our economy. He assured deliverance from Government of Punjab and informed that discussions on Joint Venture of BT Cotton with Monsanto are under process.
Mian Anjum Nisar, President FPCCI and Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President LCCI appreciated the steps taken by the Prime Minister of Pakistan especially addressing economic crises amid COVID-19.