Lahore - Pakistan direly needs export-led growth as it brings in valuable foreign exchange, generates revenue for the government and employment opportunities for the human resources.

In a statement, President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry Mian Nauman Kabir said that to enhance Pakistan’s export competitiveness all raw materials for export oriented industries must be zero-rated or low custom duties. The government must eliminate regulatory duties on raw materials, so that local industry can be able to make itself more export competitive.

He said that Pakistan has the potential to increase its exports to $ 50 billion provided all the concerned departments extend full support to the export-oriented sectors. The LCCI President said that Custom Duties on intermediary products for export oriented industries should be reduced so that our industry can be able to import quality materials, components and machinery from the rest of the world at the same duty rate at which it imports through different FTAs. “Overall, there is a need for overhauling of taxation system with competitive tariff regime that promotes industrialization, tax holidays for new entrepreneurs, reduction in frequency & number of taxes and broadening of tax base where all incomes are treated and taxed equally”, Mian Nauman Kabir added.

He said that the commercial sections of the embassies need to work more efficiently, prepare fresh market research reports in their concerned country and send those reports to all the Chambers of Commerce in Pakistan. They should also play a pivotal role in developing liaison between Pakistani manufacturers and importer of that country. In the case of any conflicts, the commercial sections should become a bridge between the two parties in order to resolve the conflict swiftly.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that our industry has not remained competitive in the international market because of the high cost of doing business. The industry in Pakistan is hampered by relatively higher energy tariff as compared to our regional competitors which should be reduced in order to increase the competitiveness. He said that aquifer charges for industrial extracting water through tube-wells is on the higher side and should be rationalized.

He said that the government should design and implement a Productivity Linked Wage System to ensure that increase in wages is commensurate with higher productivity.

The LCCI President further stated Pakistan’s ranking in Ease of Doing Business is still on the lower side as compared to the other export oriented economies in the region and reflects business climate challenges (e.g. difficulties in registering a company, getting electricity connection, construction permits, and registering property etc.). LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that as the countries around the world are moving swiftly towards smart regulations, electronic portals and one window approvals etc., Pakistan will have to adopt a similar course. This will not only facilitate the export oriented industries but will also create a better perception of the country as an investment destination through improvement in Doing Business Ranking.

LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq said that there is a need to get our Doing Business ranking below 50 in next three years through smart regulations and online portals to get Pakistan recognized internationally as a business destination.