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PIAF Hails PM, COAS for Holding Meetings With Businessmen on Financial Matter

Chairman Nauman Kabir asks govt to include major chambers and associations in businessmen committee

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LAHORE– Like the whole business community, the Pakistan Industrial & Traders Association Front (PIAF) has also appreciated the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Army Staff for holding meetings with the businessmen on financial matters, stressing the need for taking all stakeholders on board with their input on key economic issues so that the country could be back on right track of economic growth.

PIAF Chairman Mian Nauman Kabir, in a statement issued here on Sunday, said few top business tycoons met recently with PM Imran and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa where no representative of any chamber, trade and industrial bodies were present, which represent the SMEs, constituting nearly 90 percent of all the enterprises in Pakistan, employing 80 percent of the non-agricultural labour force; and share of which in the annual GDP is around 40 percent.

He said the government called only the large enterprises and ignored the small and medium enterprises’ representatives, who are actually constrained by financial and other resources. PIAF strongly believes that SME sector is the backbone of any economy.

PIAF chief said that in a country like Pakistan where more than 60% of the population is rural based it is very important to enhance the capacities of rural centric SMEs to help them scale and contribute to the overall economic growth.

Mian Nauman Kabir asked the government to create an enabling environment as per the objectives of the business community, which was imperative for the national development. He said the PIAF was ready to fully cooperate with the government so that country could overcome economic and financial problems.

He lamented that the government does not go beyond verbal assurances, as its words do not match its actions. He appreciated the sincerity, responsiveness and commitment of the Prime Minister but expressed disappointment over the situation, as nothing works on ground.

“It is a right step to establish a committee on directions of the PM for resolution of business people issues and removal of impediments to the economic growth but the committee should also include representatives from premier chambers and associations from across the country,” he demanded.

Kabir said that government must develop policies conducive for business environment and address genuine issues of the community. He stressed the need for reforming the taxation system by engaging all stakeholders, getting rid of the double taxation system that was hampering the financial activities in the country.

He said that reforms are required growth-friendly policies, re-composition to upgrade taxation and active industrial policies in close consultation with the actual stakeholders to achieve the sustainable development goals.

He welcomed the government efforts to ease current account deficit from 6.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in FY2018 to 4.8 percent in FY2019. The trade deficit narrowed by almost 11 percent to $28 billion as rupee depreciation drove down merchandise imports by 7.4 percent.

However, he pointed out that despite currency depreciation in real effective terms, merchandise exports declined by 2.2 percent and workers’ remittances stirred from 3 years of near stagnation to grow by just 9.7%, lending support to the current account.

PIAF chief observed that the government needs to press ahead with macroeconomic and structural reforms; revitalizing public sector enterprises; improving revenue collection, energy and water security, and leveraging improved security and regional cooperation opportunities, to secure the hard won gains and promote growth.— PRESS RELEASE