SCCI president calls for sustainable economic policies

Peshawar    -   President of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Fuad Ishaq has stressed that the enforcement of sustainable and long-lasting policies is imperative for economic stability and progress. Fuad Ishaq urged policy-making institutions and bureaucracy to consult with chambers and stakeholders while framing economic policies to ensure smooth implementation. He suggested adopting the UAE-tax model in Pakistan as the only way to make the country’s economy progressive. He called for reducing the tax ratio to single digits and implementing reforms to broaden the tax base by adding new people.

The SCCI chief demanded that the ICAP, FPCCI, and chambers be included in the fiscal budget-making process. He emphasized that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s constitutional rights to gas, electricity, and other natural resources should be ensured to flourish business, trade, and industry in the province, creating employment opportunities for the youth. Fuad Ishaq made these remarks during a visit by the participants of the 40th Senior Management Course Officers of the National Institute of Management, Islamabad, to the chamber house on Thursday. The delegation was headed by Chief Instructor Samreen Zuhra.

Despite abundant natural resources, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lags behind other provinces in progress, Ishaq said. He noted that as a frontline province in terrorism, the business community faced severe hardships but continued their trade and industry with matchless sacrifices. He expressed concern over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa being included in the RLNG basket despite surplus gas production and criticized the equal electricity tariffs charged to the province despite its low-cost, surplus electricity production.

The chamber president highlighted that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s oil production, at 31,000 barrels per day, constitutes about 42 percent of the country’s total production. He demanded the establishment of an oil refinery in the province, pointing out that more than 400 to 600 industrial units have been shut down due to the current scenario. Fuad Ishaq mentioned that Pak-Afghan bilateral trade has dropped to $500-800 million from $3 billion in 2012-13, blaming inconsistent policies for the decline.

Fuad Ishaq also expressed concern that commercial bank deposits in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have surged to 15-16 percent, while the lending ratio is less than one percent. He called for the revival of DFIs to promote industrialization in the province and demanded the reactivation of the IDBP in its true sense. He also urged for the provision of benefits under China’s One Belt One Road Initiative.

Earlier, the visiting officers were briefed about the SCCI’s main objectives, future plans, and initiatives through a multimedia presentation.

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