LAHORE, Feb 08 (APP): Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwala on Monday called for a Charter of Economy that should be followed by all the governments saying that it was need of the hour.

He was talking to business community here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah presented the address of welcome while Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry, former LCCI Presidents Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman, Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry, Sohail Lashari, former Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa, former Vice President Zeshan Khalil and Executive Committee Members also spoke on the occasion.

The Deputy Chairman Senate said that economic policies should not be changed according to the wishes of political parties as no country could move ahead without a stable economy.
On demand of the LCCI President, he said that Chambers should form a committee in collaboration with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry that would be notified and would be called in the meetings of concerned Senate committees.

He said that system of refunds should be fully automatic on the pattern of developed countries. “I would take this matter with the Finance Minister,” he assured.

Saleem Mandviwala said that all export-oriented industries should be zero-rated. He further said that existing volume of exports was a matter of concern. Pakistan’s exports were far less than Bangladesh and Vietnam despite the fact that country had the ability to boost the exports up to $ 50 billion.

He underlined the need for a separate system for Export Development Fund. He said that EDF should have a separate bank account and should be given directly to the business community.

He said that budget process started from January and budget proposals of business community should be reached to the government, FBR and Senate by the end of February so that these could be discussed and be made part of budget document.

“Only trade and industry can put the country on the path of economic stability,” the Deputy Chairman Senate said and added that industry cannot play its due role in the presence of gas shortage, high input cost and delay in refunds etc.

LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah in his address said that there were various issues being faced by the business community which needed to be addressed. He said that any business liquidity position mattered a lot. In this regard the process of refunds for exporters needed to be streamlined on permanent basis.

The LCCI President said that the incentives which were currently provided to the five zero-rated sectors should also be provided to the other export sectors of the economy e.g. engineering, pharmaceuticals, rice, Halal meat, and processed food etc.

He said that there was a dire need of tariff rationalization to give boost to the industry. He proposed that all the raw materials not manufactured locally must attract zero custom duties. He said that government should eliminate Regulatory Duties and two per cent Additional Custom Duty on raw materials to increase the competitiveness of local industry.
Moreover, Custom Duties on intermediary products should be reduced so that the industry could be able to import quality materials, components and machineries.

Mian Tariq Misbah said that modern time business requirements also included various certifications.

There was a great need to improve infrastructure as far as the testing labs and standard certification were concerned. State of the art testing labs on the outskirts of Lahore and other major cities should be established through EDF.

Furthermore, up-gradation of existing testing labs should also be done to bring them at par with international standards for serving the export needs of various industries, he added.

He said that Pakistan needed diversification in export markets as around 60 per cent of exports go to just 10 countries.

In order to enhance exports to the untapped potential markets like Russia and Central Asia, formal banking channels needed to be established on priority basis, he added.