MULTAN- The business community including office-bearers of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) have declared the Federal budget for 2017-18 as people-friendly and welcomed the tax incentives announced by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, saying it looks a balanced and growth oriented budget.

President MCI Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi said that it would be an ideal budget had the government announce agricultural loan on 5 to 6 percent mark-up like Industry. He expressed his reservations on 15 percent income tax on dividend describing it a discouraging step for investors. He said that Government should withdraw Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) and should provide natural gas on uniform prices to industrialists of Punjab.

Industry is backbone for the economy of any country and it is welcoming that the government has announced incentives for the industrial sector. “He underlined the need to take more steps for creating conducive environment for the industry in order to create new jobs, improve productivity, enhance exports so that the country could emerge as a strong economy. Malik Asrar Ahmed Awan Former President of MCCI expressed similar views and termed the budget a step forward for the welfare of business community and masses. “There is no harshness for the business community in the budget. There is a decrease in corporate taxes which is a welcome sign. I think the government has kept the interests of business community protected” he said. He said the government had also taken care of agricultural sector which was commendable.

Bakhtawar Tanvir Sheikh, Senior Vice President of MCCI said that credit goes to Ishaq Dar who presented the fifth national budget very successfully and initiated many economic indicators which would bring prosperity and economic stability in the country. He said that 22 percent increase in per capita income and Pakistan Stock exchange 100-share Index continued to gain momentum on as index-heavy stocks pushed the benchmark well above 52,000 points from 19,000 points. He said industry needed better concentration and priority to address its issues adding that the steps announced by the government would put the country on the path of sustainable economic growth.

Dr Jasso Mal, Chairman PCGA, in his comments said that the government had realized the importance of Cotton sector and was focusing on that which was a welcome sign. He said the business community had been given relief, which would help achieve accelerated economic growth. He underlined the need to take more steps for creating conducive environment for the industry in order to create new jobs, improve productivity, enhance exports so that the country could emerge as a strong economy.

He stated that the government had given various incentives for business community. “The incentives for poultry sector are also welcoming,” he said.