APP44-12 ISLAMABAD: June 12 - Prime Minister Imran Khan attends the Budget Session of National Assembly on Friday. APP

LAHORE, Jun 12 (APP):The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) on Friday gave a mixed reaction on
the federal budget 2020-21 and called for extraordinary steps to overcome challenges in post COVID arena.
Addressing a press conference after the budget speech, LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, flanked by Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar and Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, said the government did well by presenting a tax-free budget but some measures, demanded by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, had been ignored. Former LCCI office-bearers and Executive
Committee Members were also present.
The LCCI president welcomed allocation of funds for power and water projects, and the agriculture sector.
He said that exemption of additional custom duties on those tariff lines which were now at zero per cent
customs duty in tariff, reduction of custom duty on 40 raw materials of various industries, tariff rationalization
under National Tariff Policy 2019, by reducing customs duty on 90 tariff lines from 11 per cent to three per cent
and zero per cent, allowing the exemption on import of raw material to those Nashiran-e-Quran also who do
not have their own in-house printing facility, reduction in regulatory duty from 12.5 per cent and 17.5 per cent
to six per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, on Hot Rolled Coils (HRC) of Iron and steel falling under
PCT codes 7208 and 7225 & 7226, respectively, were good measures. He said that exemption of custom
duties on import of raw materials  by manufacturers of Butyl Acetate, exemption of custom duty on import
of raw material by manufacturer of syringes and saline infusion sets, exemption of customs  duties  on
import of raw material by manufacturers of buttons, reduction in custom duty on import of raw material by
manufacturers of interlining/buckram, reduction of custom duty and exemption of additional custom duty
and regulatory duty on import of raw materials by manufacturers of Wire rod, exemption of custom duties
and regulatory duty on import of machinery, equipment and other project related items for setting up of
internet cable landing stations, exemption of custom duties on import of raw material by beverage can
manufacturers and reduction in Custom duty and exemption from Additional custom duty on import of raw
material by food packaging industry were laudable measures.
Irfan Iqbal Sheikh also welcomed that reduction in regulatory duty on smuggling prone items to bring these
items under legal imports, regulatory duty on several industrial inputs was also being reduced to decrease
their cost of doing business, tariff protection for domestic industry by increasing/levy of regulatory duty
on import of those items which were also locally manufactured, incentivizing soap manufacturing industry
by reducing rate of additional customs duty on Palm Stearin and enhancing scope of concessions
available to Special Economic Zones.
The LCCI president called for declaration of all smuggling prone goods to bring transparency.
He, however, said the Lahore Chamber was demanding a cut in markup rate. It should be four to five
per cent to bring down the input cost of the industrial sector.
He said no special package had been announced in the budget to boost exports and to remove the
hurdles that hampering the growth of exports sector.
The LCCI president said that loss-making Public Sector Enterprises were causing huge loss to the national
exchequer but no policy had been given on these PSEs in the budget.
“No policy has been announced to reduce the energy cost that is one of the biggest reasons of high
industrial input cost”, he said and added that demands of interest free loans to SMEs, further improvement
in refunds system, removal or cut in withholding tax, end to advance tax at import stage and help in
certification for SMEs had been remained unaccepted in the budget.
Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said,the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry was also expecting withdrawal of discretionary powers and special policies for Halal Food and Information Technology sectors.