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Pakistani Business Community in UAE Hails Budget

Posted by on Monday, June 8, 2015, 12:34
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Pakistani business community in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has welcomed the growth-oriented finance federal budget for financial year 2015-16 focusing on energy issues.



Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday presented the Rs 4.313 trillion budget for 2015-16 in the National Assembly, eyeing an ambitious, growth target of 5.5 per cent. The PML-N government plans to achieve growth rate of seven per cent by the end of its tenure in 2018.

Javed Malik, president of the Diplomat Business Club in Dubai, said the budget was growth oriented and aimed to introduce reforms to encourage investment and promote trade.

Highlighting key features of budget, he said special concessions and incentives had been introduced to facilitate the agriculture sector.

“Being an agriculture-based economy, special incentives have been introduced to facilitate farmers. Youth loans scheme has been further expanded to encourage entrepreneurship,” Malik was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times on Sunday.

Malik, who is also special envoy to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said poverty alleviation remained a priority for the government and Bait-ul-Mal funding had been doubled. He said investment in education had also been doubled and fee reimbursement schemes had been made education accessible to underprivileged students.

“Tax incentives have been intrigued to encourage exports, private sector and small and medium-sized enterprises. The circulate debt has been kept in check,” Malik said.

He said development spending had increased to build a strong infrastructure for the country and announcement of Green Line metro for the largest city of Karachi was a very positive step.

“The government has introduced innovative tax reforms to ensure that the rich pay taxes, and low and middle income groups are given relaxations,” he said.

Tanvir Khawaja, president of Pakistan Business Council Dubai, expressed similar views and said this was a balanced budget amid considering available resources to the government. He said the energy sector was rightly focused in the budget and billions of rupees allocations will help address power shortage problems in the country.

“The government has allocated Rs 248 billion in budget to complete energy projects on priority basis and end power load-shedding by December 2017,” he said, adding that 10,600- megawatt electricity was expected to connect with national grid in coming two years.

“The government has allocated Rs 21 billion for 4,500-megawatt Diamer Bhasha Dam while Rs 11 billion each were reserved for the 965-megawatt Neelam-Jhelum project and the 1,410-megawatt Tarbela-IV extension project. This is right approach to realise the true potential of natural resources in the country,” Khawaja said.

He welcomed the tax rebate for Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and said it was a good move to revive the industry in the province. He also hailed significant increase in allocation to Benazir Income Support Programme.

Dr Syed Qaiser Anis, President Pakistan Business Council Abu Dhabi, said the budget for 2015-16 would accelerate business activities and boost employment opportunities in the country.

He lauded that the budget deficit had been decreased to five per cent and appreciated the government’s focus on the energy sector where heavy investments were proposed to generate 7,000 megawatts from hydel resources while another 3,600 megawatts would be raised by using LNG as fuel to a total of 10,600-megawatt electricity into the system to overpower the load shedding.

“For green and clear energy, a tax holiday has been provided to setting up solar and wind energy projects is a positive step and will encourage investments into the sector,” he said.

Dr Anis said custom duties had been lowered on importing machineries and equipment for construction industry, which would help in developing upcoming projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He said heavy budgetary allocations for highways and transport projects all over the country would bring development in Pakistan.

“The government is trying to bring more people in tax net specially those who do not file income tax returns by levying tax on their bank transactions. This move would encourage them to declare their income by filing income tax returns,” he said.

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