ISLAMABAD, Jun 13 (APP):Business community on Saturday termed the federal budget 2020-21 as tax free and balanced in prevailing circumstances in light of COVID-19 impact.

Commenting on the budget today, Central Chairman United Business Group (UBG) Iftikhar Ali Malik hailed the reforms for ease of doing and said that the measures introduced in the budget would help to set a proper direction of the national economy,” said a press release issued here.

He said that Pakistan’s Economy is going through a challenging phase due to the outbreak of global COVID-19 pandemic. The most impacted section of our society is the businesses.

The manufacturers, traders, retailers, importers/exporters and other segments of the business community are in distress and facing huge financial losses due to the current emergency situation as no business activity is going on in the country.

However, he said the government took extraordinary decisions to appease this crisis.

He said , the agriculture sector is targeted to grow by 2.8 percent and there is dire need to enhance this growth to its maximum size as Pakistan cannot progress without a developed agricultural sector.

“The previous governments had adopted wrong policies which resulted in increased agricultural cost and decreased revenues,” he pointed out.

He also stressed that it was the dire need of the hour to use the modern techniques for increasing the per acre yield, adding, the government allocated funds for the research and development activities to put the agri-sector on modern lines.

Iftikhar Malik appreciated the government’s decision to allocate Rs 200 billion as subsidy to the Power Sector.

However, he said that the exorbitant rise in energy rates (electricity and gas) has increased the cost of business for industry and hence dented our competitiveness.

“The power tariff for all the sectors should be reduced to 7.5 cents/kwh through elimination of taxes, in line with the recent decline in global oil prices. The gas tariff should also be reduced for the industry.

He urged government to also decrease the rate of sales tax in addition to trim down the cost of production so that all strata of society could enjoy benefits of national development.

He lauded the government for allocating maximum funds for education, agriculture, livestock and energy sectors.

He said that allocation of huge funds for the education sector would also help to provide quality education at doorsteps of the masses.

He also appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan for allocating Rs 20 billion to improve the capacity of health institutions and the production of health equipment with the aim to provide better health services and check diseases in the country at the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Iftikhar Malik said Imran Khan’s government was very sincere with the country and took many steps to raise the living standard of the poor and in this regard several steps had been taken for the uplift and development of the masses.