FPCCI terms federal budget 2018-19 a populous yet balanced one

KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) has termed the federal budget 2018-19 a populous and yet a balanced budget envisaging several pro-business measures.

President FPCCI Ghazanfar Bilour said a number of incentives were announced to promote country’s agriculture sector, which was a good thing and would also help agro-based industries. “Most of our recommendations have been incorporated in the budget. The announcement that any company could only be audited by the tax authorities only once in three years would provide relief to the businesses.”

Bilour while appreciating reduction in withholding tax rates on bank transactions to 0.4 percent from 0.6 percent criticized application of any tax on banking transactions. “Nowhere in the world, is tax imposed on cash withdrawals,” Bilour added.

Senior Vice President FPCCI Mazhar Ali Nasir said it was yet to ascertain whether this was an import substitution budget, whether it was an industrial growth oriented budget. “It is also important to understand whether the incumbent government would continue with the measures announced in this budget.”

Nasir appreciated the announcement regarding installation of a water desalination plant in Karachi having a capacity of providing 50 million gallons/day of clean water. “This would break the monopoly of water mafia and reduce cost of doing business for industrialists in Karachi. The new government should prioritize the completion of this project.”

Patron-in-chief Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association Fawad Aijaz said the budget did not have any incentive or relief for the exporters. “There have been no refunds to exporters since last four years while Miftah Ismail announced that government would start paying refunds from July 01, 2018, which means there will be no refunds for another two months.”

Aijaz said exporters receive DLTL refunds from central bank, customs duty drawback, sales tax and income tax refunds and these would be paid in a year starting July 01, 2018. “This budget is a death warrant for the exporters and instead of providing relief the cost of doing business would even increase for exporters.”

Former President FPCCI Waseem Vohra appreciated tax relief measures. “Gradual elimination of super tax and reduction in corporate tax to 25 percent by 2023 along with tax credit to new industry would result in expansion and provide employment opportunities.”

Irfan Sarwana representing cosmetics industry on FPCCI said federal budget had proposed several import concessions, which would benefit industries relying largely on imported inputs.

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