From Abid Usman
LAHORE: The Pakistan Business Forum (PBF) on Tuesday unveiled a 25-point economic manifesto in order to effectively tackle current financial and administrative problems.
Highlighting the main features of the manifesto, PBF Vice President Chaudhry Ahmad Jawad said that enhanced exports and recognition of taxpayers’ role were key to economic development, and for that, all the stakeholders should work out a charter of the economy to redress financial crisis and mismanagement.
The PBF manifesto, he said, called for huge investment in the industrial sector to generate revenue for the government, jobs for the youth, and profits for businessmen, thus ensuring a win-win situation for all.
Industrialisation should, therefore, be the government’s priority, he said and added that industrialists and agriculturists might be facilitated with soft loans. There should be at least 20 per cent representation of the business community in the policy-making bodies at national, provincial and district levels for effective implementation of the policies, besides privatisation of loss-making public entities, the PBF leader stressed.
Ahmad Jawad said the Federal Board of Revenue should devise corruption-free and business-friendly digital policies. Exporters and businessmen should be given a 25 per cent quota in the national awards and practical steps must be put in order to discourage smuggling, he added.
The PBF, he said, also advocated for establishing effective links between industry and academia, by developing a new curriculum for universities which covered the subject of entrepreneurship.
He said industrialists should be provided plots in the industrial estates under a 10-year easy installments plan, while arbitration centres should be established at the district level to resolve business disputes at the earliest.
The PBF vice president called for the implementation of reforms in the agricultural sector. Farmers owning more than 50 acres of land should pay income tax, but orchards and vegetable farms using modern farming methods should be exempted, he stressed.
Concessional loans should be extended for setting up cold storage chains for the preservation of fruit and vegetables, Ahmad Jawad proposed.
PBF Vice President Jahanara Wattoo demanded that the information technology and and agricultural sectors should be given the status of industry.
She called for elimination of prize bonds and currency notes of 5,000 denominations, as it would help redirect the money to businesses and eradicate corruption.
She said the PBF in its manifesto also called for energy sector reforms and green energy promotion to help solve the energy crisis.
Ms Jahanara urged the government to consult the private sector to address climate change with a defined strategy, and also the government must register all online stores in Pakistan with a mandatory fixed fee of Rs 100,000 to support e-commerce with a renewal licence period of three years in order to support consumer protection.