Budget unsatisfactory for most people and people in business, says Former President of ICCI

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Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Thursday that the overall budget is disappointing and has not met the expectations of the common person and the business community. He added that the budget had not improved the economy, and many important reforms had been ignored.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement issued here today that getting tough on non-filers will affect the economy while eliminating tax exemptions on industries in FATA will save fifty billion rupees. The business leader said that a 3.6 percent growth rate and a 38% revenue increase seem impossible in the current situation. He added that the budget will not be able to cure the economic problems, and the country will continue to be run on debt. He observed that the budget has not controlled inflation, revived investment, or brought the underground economy into the mainstream.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that exports have not been encouraged much, to the dismay of exporters. However, removing tax concessions for the erstwhile FATA and PATA industries is a positive step in reducing smuggling.

Hundreds of factories in the rest of the country will start running, and the revenue will increase by at least fifty billion rupees, but exemptions to the tune of 3.9 trillion rupees are still intact.

The 2.25 per cent advance tax on wholesalers and retailers will only affect registered manufacturers and will increase the prices the public will bear. Registered businesses will struggle to compete with those selling smuggled and unregistered products.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the salaries of federal employees have been increased, which is a good step. The wages of provincial employees will also increase, and it will impact the private sector, but it will also increase inflation and business costs.

He said that no suggestion has been made in the budget to stop intelligent people from leaving the country, and no attempt has been made to increase investment.

This time, the budget has also tried to give all possible facilities to the elite while further squeezing the public.


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