The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has resented the move of the government to impose regulatory duty on import of 36 new items and raise RD on 240 existing items to curtail trade deficit and termed it an unwise decision as it would unleash a new wave of inflation in the country, affect growth of business activities and bring more miseries to the common man.
Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that announcing mini-budget in almost half way of the financial year shows lack of planning on the part of the policymakers because such unexpected measures create problems for business activities and put more burden on the general public.
He said regulatory duty has been increased up to 50 percent on many eatable items including fruits and vegetables that would put extra burden on the common man apart from affecting business activities and stressed that government should review hike in RD, especially on eatable items. He urged that government should not enhance RD on imported items that were being used as raw material/inputs for manufacturing of local products as hike in RD on such items would cause further dip in our exports.
He said that instead of enhancing regulatory duty on imports to curb trade deficit, government should focus on addressing the key issues of exporters to facilitate the growth of exports. He said our exports have declined by almost 20 percent since 2013-14, after attaining the peak level of 25 billion US dollars, but government remained inactive to arrest the declining trend in exports. He said Pakistan mostly depended on textiles for exports while exports of other items including agriculture and SMEs have taken a big hit during the last many years. It showed that no tangible efforts were made to broaden and diversify the export base due to which our imports have gone up and exports have come down.
ICCI President stressed that government should reduce taxes on manufacturing inputs, take strong measures to ensure easy availability of credit to the private sector from commercial banks and address key issues of SMEs that would help in promoting exports and reducing trade deficit.
Muhammad Naveed Senior Vice President and Nisar Ahmed Mirza Vice President ICCI said that before announcing unilateral mini-budgets, government should have first taken chambers of commerce and business leaders on board to arrive at consensus decisions for coping with trade deficit and other issues of the economy.