SCCI chief asks to hand over PESCO, SNGPL control to Army

Peshawar   -   Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Fuad Ishaq has asked to hand over the control of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) and Sui-Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) to military, as these companies can only be fixed by the Army like in the Pervez Musharraf era, in the past.

“Electricity theft in PESCO is 50 percent while SNGPL line losses are 47 percent, of which the poor masses and business community are bearing the brunt, Fuad Ishaq said. He demanded 50 percent reduction in the income, sale tax and excise taxes for next 20-years. Similarly, he urged the government to allow duty-free import for new industries and Balancing, Modernisation and Replacement (BMR).

The SCCI chief claimed that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is surplus in electricity and gas production. He added the gas rate should not be more than Rs1250MMBTU and also electricity shouldn’t be charged more than Rs9 per unit, because hydel production rate is Rs2 to Rs3 per unit in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The SCCI chief also said that instead of burdening the existing taxpayers, the tax-base should be broadened by bringing new people under the net. He said that business community has serious concerns over the 25 to 26 percent tax on transfer of property and asked the government to review it.

Fuad Ishaq made these demands while speaking during a budget-related advisory meeting during the visit of Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr Asif Mehmood Jah here at chamber house on Friday.

The meeting was attended besides others by the SCCI office-bearers Sanaullah, Ejaz Afridi, Ex president Niaz Ahmad, and Advisor FTO (Income-Tax) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Ali, Legal Advisor FTO Islamabad Almas Ali Jovindah, Legal Advisor FTO (Customs) Ziauddin, executive members of the chamber, traders, industrialists and representatives of business community.

Fuad Ishaq called to bring down the markup rate to single digit means 9 percent, and equalise 224 items duties with Afghanistan and Iran, so as smuggling of these items be eliminated.

In order to import these 224 items, he said permission be granted to buy dollars from a third country or open market and then allow them to re-export. He urged the FTO to take further measures to facilitate and provide relief to business community.

Fuad Ishaq said it is alarming that Pakistan is paying Rs8 trillion interest on loans. He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was declared a red-zone by commercial banks, stating that banks deposit ratio is nearly 16 percent in the province against its lending ratio less than one percent, which is completely unfair and unjust. He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is generating Rs1 billion annually in head of vehicle’s registration while Islamabad is earning Rs20 billion every year through vehicles’ registration. He suggested the issuance of national number plates for vehicles across the country.

Later on, the Tax Ombudsman Asif Mehmood Jah while responding to various queries assured that his institution would continue its facilitation services and provision of relief to business community to an extent.

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