ISLAMABAD June 4 (APP): The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Saturday welcomed majority of business and export friendly initiatives while a few others were criticised in a reaction over Federal Budget 2016-17.

The FPCCI would hold negtiations with the government before the approval of budget as a team has been formed to contact the concerned quarters to convey its point of view on various reservations, FPCCI news release here stated.

Budget will hold fall in agriculture and export sectors while improving law and order situation due to enhanced allocation for the defence sector but at the same time it has triggered reservations among some sections of the business community, said Abdul Rauf Alam, President FPCCI.

Speaking at a post budget press conference at FPCCI Capital Office, Abdul Rauf Alam lauded the decision of the government to pay refunds and demanded that entire refunds must be paid during July and August 2016.

He announced unconditional support for the decision of the government to tighten noose against non-filers, broaden tax base and demanded reduced reliance on withholding agents.

He said that agriculture has been focused and the prices of Urea in Pakistan now match with that of India while the agri loan target of Rs700 billion coupled with two percent reduction in mark-up will support the dwindling sector which has compromised GDP by 0.5 percent.

The rise in salaries and pensions and hike of Rs1000 in minimum wage of workers is insufficient, he said, adding that five sectors have been allowed zero rating but the second largest export sector of rice should be allowed zero rating as other five sectors and that small business and cottage have been ignored.

Abdul Rauf said that duty on two thousand items have been reduced which will reduce cost of doing business and lauded the decision to give tax exemption for setting up new industry during next three years and demanded zero duty and tax on import of plants and machinery.

He said imposition of Rs 50 FED on a cement bag will hurt housing sector and increase cost of CPEC and other mega projects. He also called for reversing ten percent WHT on transfer of property in five years.

He demanded to reverse the customs duty enhanced on the import of steel billet, asked for preferring direct taxation over indirect mode of taxation which will impede growth of filers.

The President FPCCI lauded abolishing duties on import of laptops and computers to curb smuggling and decision to reverse remaining concessionary SROs.

At the occasion, President ICCI Atif Ikram Sheikh said incentive to ghee mills in some areas is not advisable and that taxes on this sector should be reduced keeping in view the prevalent malnutrition.

Vice Presidents of FPCCI Zafar Bakhtwari and Riaz Khattak, Chairman of UBG Iftikhar Malik, Secretary General UBG Zubair Tufail, SVP Abad Arif Jeewa, Shakil Dhingra, President and former presidents of ICCI including Atif Ikram Sheikh, Khalid Jaweed, Tariq Sadiq, Ijaz Abbasi, Kamran Abbasi, Malik Sohail and others were also present on the occasion.