ISLAMABAD-Senior Vice Chairman of Pakistan Hotels Association Mian Akram Farid visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here Saturday and discussed the key issues of the hotel industry with ICCI Office Bearers for their redress.
Speaking on the occasion, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, ICCI said that the government should address the key issues of the hotel industry to facilitate its better growth that would enable it to create more jobs.
He said that the hotel industry is an important source of revenue generation for the country, while 5 to 6 million people are associated with the hotel industry.
He said that since 1990s, no new big hotel chain has come to Pakistan due to lack of a national tourism policy and a consistent policy framework from the government for the hotel industry.
He said that the government can generate more revenue by creating a favourable environment for this industry and solving its major issues.
Mian Akram Farid stressed that the government should abolish the import/ regulatory duty on the import of machinery and other items for the hotel industry as these duties have increased the cost of doing business manifold.
He said that according to the current market rate, the land prices have increased many times while imposition of various taxes and levies on the hotel industry has created further problems.
He said that the bulk of the capital is spent on the purchase of land for hotels and stressed that the land should be provided this industry at government rates.
He further said that the 22 percent enhanced interest rate should also be reduced. He said that the high electricity and gas tariffs have also greatly increased the cost of doing business for this industry and emphasized that these high utility tariffs should be rationalized.
Faad Waheed, Senior Vice President ICCI urged that immediate action should be taken against the illegal guesthouses running in the federal capital.
He said that earlier the CDA had closed the guest houses established in the residential areas of Islamabad, but now again the guest houses have cropped up in the residential sectors of Islamabad. Apart from this, residential apartments are also being used as gatehouses and they are not paying taxes.
Engr. Azharul Islam Zafar, Vice President ICCI, said that the hotel industry was not given any relief in the last budget. He said that due to credit sales, hotel owners are paying sales tax and bed tax. He demanded that the government should immediately abolish bed tax at the federal and provincial levels so that the industry can survive.
He said that the government should consider reducing the federal and provincial sales tax on hotels to 10 percent to reduce its problems.