All economic indicators moving in right direction and situation would get even better in coming months: Finance Minister

Lahore, December 26, 2016 (PPI-OT):Federal Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar has said that all economic indicators are moving in right direction and situation would get even better in coming months. Federal Finance Minister, who is also the former president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was talking to the LCCI delegation. The LCCI President Abdul Basit was leading the delegation while other members were Awais Saeed Piracha, Moazam Rasheed, Mian Zahid Javed, Mian Abdul Razaq, Shahid Nazir, Ch. Khadim Hussain and Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim.

Muhammad Ishaq Dar said that Pakistan has made a strong comeback and became more stronger after 2013. He said that foreign exchange reserves are at the record level, balance of payment is good while Pakistan Stock Market is one of the best performs. He said that macro-economic stability has caught the attention of the investors around the globe. To a question, he said that Kalabagh and Bhasha dams cannot be built at the same time as KBD has been politicized. He said that Bhasha dam would be constructed at any cost, China is being asked to include Bhasha in China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

While inviting the LCCI budget proposals, finance Minister said that government always take the proposals of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on board. On the invitation of the LCCI President Abdul Basit, Finance Minister promised to visit the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry soon. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Abdul Basit highlighted the issues of refund claims, attachment of bank accounts, misuse of discretionary powers and disparity in energy prices between the provinces.

He said that Halal food sector should be given zero rated facility as the country has a little share in the international Halal food trade of about 3 trillion dollars. He said that difference in gas and electricity prices should be removed to provide level playing field to the industries throughout the country. He also called for withdrawal of ban on new gas connections for the industry. He said that Bhasha and Kalabagh, both dams are essential for the national economy. He said that opponents of Kalabagh dam are actually safeguarding the Indian interests therefore they should not be given any weight.

The energy mix of the country is very expensive due to lack of hydel power generation. This results in tariff hikes and makes the industry uncompetitive in the international market. He suggested that the Ministry of Finance should use the international and domestic stock markets for generation of funds for Diamer-Bhasha and Kalabagh Dams. This would help the Government to raise Billions of Dollars that are required for the construction of these mega Dams. Once successful, this method can be used for the construction of other energy projects.

Abdul Basit said that Around 40,000 large and small scale industries have already been established in and around Lahore while the industrial estates of city have provision of only 1200 plots for Industries that are located in proper Industrial Zones (800 in Sundar Industrial Estate and 400 in Quaid-e-Azam Industrial Estate). He reiterated the LCCI demand of declaring the 39 major roads of the city as Industrial Corridors. He demanded that new industrial zones should be developed around Lahore and in whole Punjab for catering the demands for establishing new industries.

For more information, contact:
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
11-Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat,
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-111-222-499
Fax: +92-42-36368854
Website: www.lcci.org.pk