LAHORE - The business community, while rejecting 15 percent additional duty on import of 297 items, has observed that the decision will further increase the practice of under-invoicing and promote smuggling. They said that government, instead of promoting exports by resolving the fundamental issue of high cost of doing business particularly in Punjab, is taking impractical and illogical ways to control trade deficit.
Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said the declining exports and widening trade deficit posed a serious threat to economic growth and required to be tackled on priority basis. The government should also find a lasting solution to the problem of high prices of foodstuffs, as the high import duty also causes high inflation.
He said that business friendly policies must be adopted as other neighboring countries of the region are giving to trade and industry. The amount specified in trade policy should be utilised for the promotion of exports by giving incentives to the trade and industry and by exploring new markets. The PIAF chairman remarked that the people would accept the government claims on economic growth and prosperity only when their problems would be solved and the essential commodities and utilities would be available at fair prices. The government should ensure availability of electricity, gas, diesel and water to trade, industry and agriculture at low rates to facilitate reduction in prices of foodstuffs and industrial products, he added.