Govt urged to focus on imports substitution

By Anzal Amin

ISLAMABAD: Business leaders on Wednesday urged the government to focus on imports substitution and exports promotion to revive the economy. Addressing the conference on Revival of Economy, organized by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), they highlighted key issues being faced by the economy and unanimously passed a solution to steer the econ-omy out of the current economic crisis. The resolution called upon the government to cooperate with the private sector in enhancing imports substitution and diversification of products basket and markets to boost the exports that would help in reviving the fragile economy of the country.
The resolution said that being an agricultural country, Pakistan is spending US$ 12-13 billion on the import of wheat, cotton, pulses and edible oil and stressed that their imports substitution in the country would save this amount and produce exports surplus as well. The resolution said that Pakistan is making 70 percent exports of only 3-4 products and demanded that the government should support the business community in increasing the exports of IT, engineer-ing goods, pharmaceuticals and other products.
The resolution said that the shortage of dollars was the main cause of the rising economic crisis in the country and stressed that the government should consider offering 10 years’ tax holidays on depositing dollars in banks to improve forex reserves of the country. The resolution further demanded that the government should also consider offering a bonus scheme to exporters and foreign remitters to cover the difference between bank and open market dollar rate. The resolution urged that the government should privatize all loss making public sector enterprises including PIA, Paki-stan Steel Mills, Pakistan Railways and electricity companies that would save around Rs.1000 billion annually. Later, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President ICCI welcomed all the business leaders to the Conference and stressed that the government should evolve a new strategy in consultation with the business community to address the current economic troubles.

Prominent business leaders from across the country including Shehzad Ali Malik Chairman United Business Group (La-hore), Dr. Gohar Ejaz Patron-in-Chief All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Lahore), S.M.Tanveer former Chairman APTMA (Karachi), Ghazanfar Bilour (Peshawar) & Engr. Darood Khan Achakzai (Quetta) former Presidents FPCCI, Kha-lid Tawab former Senior Vice President FPCCI (Karachi), Qazi Akbar Vice President FPCCI (Chakwal), Khalid Iqbal Malik Group Leader ICCI, Zafar Bakhtawari Secretary General UBG, Haji Afzal former President Sarhad Chamber of Com-merce and Industry (Peshawar), Naima Ansari former Vice President FPCCI (Islamabad) addressed the conference.
Faad Waheed, Senior Vice President ICCI thanked the business leaders and all the participants of the Conference and hoped that the resolution passed by the business leaders would be given due consideration by the government for implementation.