KARACHI: Ismail Sattar, President of the Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has voiced concerns regarding the government’s economic policies in light of the global economic scenario. He stated that the exclusive emphasis on only five zero-rated export sectors and the prioritization of policies are significant obstacles hindering economic and industrial development.

Ismail Sattar has appealed to the government to reconsider its stance, proposing an extension of the zero-rated facility beyond the existing five sectors. He recommends providing the same concessions in taxes and duties to all export sectors, emphasizing the need for a more inclusive approach.

His plea aims to enable all export sectors to actively contribute to the country’s economic development according to their individual capacities. This, he believes, would ensure a more equitable distribution of contributions to the national treasury. Sattar urges the government to adopt a broader perspective to facilitate the growth and participation of all export sectors in the economic development of the country.

President LCCI rejected the government’s policy of prioritizing only five export sectors for the benefits aimed at increasing exports. He contends that the government’s rationale is to exclusively concentrate on five sectors of Pakistan’s export industry, namely textiles, carpets, sports goods, surgical, and the leather industry.

It has been observed that these specific sectors enjoy subsidized electricity and gas rates along with lower duties and taxes. In contrast, the remaining manufacturing divisions receive no subsidies to enhance their competitiveness in the international market, despite outperforming the five zero-rated export sectors. Sattar argues that the government’s focus on only the zero-rated export sectors is entirely unfair, as it disregards the better performance of other industries and exacerbates the imbalance in subsidy distribution.

Furthermore, he emphasized that the government, through unwise strategies and unjust incentives, is fostering division among different industrial sectors. The discriminatory policies, particularly the recent biased government decision to impose a nine-cent energy tariff on the ‘Sacred Five Sectors,’ have created a rift among various industrial segments. Today, Pakistani industrialists have become victims of this debacle and lunacy, as the unwise strategies are creating a divide among different industrial sectors through unfair incentives, states Ismail Suttar.

President LCCI emphasized the fact that Pakistan’s industrial foundations are laid by SMEs, and today, these industries are taking a serious hit because of ill-advised policies that support only a handful of setups. Their impractical plans have damaged the roots of small to medium industrial arrangements in the country.

“We are fortunate to have a country like Pakistan with remarkable regional diversity. Each province possesses its own unique set of skills and comparative advantages in various industries. For instance, Punjab is renowned for its fertile soil and textile hub, Balochistan for its rugged terrain abundant in mineral resources, Sindh for its coastal line ideal for the fisheries industry, and Northern Pakistan for its potential in tourism and winter nuts. Currently, only Punjab is considered the epitome of industries in Pakistan, while the rest of the regions are neglected. This implies that the country has missed numerous growth opportunities in areas where it could have easily flourished by leveraging regional strengths and resources.”

Ismail Suttar was of the opinion that it is high time for the Government of Pakistan to realize the potential of every export-oriented industry and place them on an equal footing to experience economic growth. “I am certain that many industries, suppressed under the top five, can single-handedly amplify the existing export revenue by four times if given a level playing field. Therefore, I am pleading with the government at this moment to take heed of past practices and provide equal opportunities to all sectors. This will allow them to thrive and reflect their prosperity in the economy,” he said.