– Kh Jalaluddin Roomi

President of Dera Ghazi Khan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DGCCI) and former President of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and former caretaker provincial minister Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi has said that South Punjab is becoming hub of business and economic activities.

He expressed these views during an interview with the Special Correspondent of The Consul, Imran Ali.


Excerpts from the interview:


Question: What should the government do to deal with the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy?

Ans: The government should announce support incentives for the revival of textile and manufacturing sectors in the upcoming budget for boosting national export and choking deficit. Agriculture is the foundation and backbone of our economy, so government should provide direct subsidy on their by-products consumed in the cultivation and agricultural growth as it will also boost the national economy.

Q: Will the government announce reduction in taxes in the upcoming budget 2021-22 for tackling Covid-19 effects?

Ans: The government will have to make visible reduction in taxes in the budget 2021-22 to help revive the businesses in post-corona economic strategy. Serious steps are needed for bringing down the cost of production, which is very high due to local currency depreciation, rising power tariffs, costly fuel and escalating import duties on inputs. Like the domestic industry, Covid-19 crisis has also forced the global investors to put their new investment plans on hold. There is no visible improvement in employment even after the business activities were allowed and countrywide lockdown eased. The small and medium industries (SMEs) -the main providers of jobs are still struggling because of lack of funds and demand.

Q: How can the government help achieve growth in the manufacturing sector during global pandemic?

Ans: The finance ministry should review the losses incurred by manufacturing sector during Corona virus. The textile sector is dependent on cotton. Cotton production must be increased to 20 million bales and we should avoid exporting raw cotton or cotton yarn. Instead, we should pay attention to value addition to engage the maximum number of workers to end unemployment. More emphasis should be put on the export of garments, stitched, and finished goods.

Textile is one of the major contributing sectors in the economy of Pakistan along with a large volume of exports. We have requested the Ministry of Finance to review the quarterly mark-up which shouldn’t be recovered as this would help us in supporting our human resource structure. Export forward bookings should be closed on the rates they were booked due to on-going wave of Covid-19.Federal Government should grant grace period of one year for the amount against the Principal and markups on the long-term loans to support business community of South Punjab.

Q: How has the business community of South Punjab extended support to the community during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis?

Ans: South Punjab’s business community has always extended a helping hand for the alleviation of misery of the common people and joined hands with the government in rescue and relief work. He said that people confined to their home due to the fear of Coronavirus,

Q: Does the business community of South Punjab expect any financial package for the region from Federal Budget 2021-22 to counter the adverse impact of Covid-19?

Ans: The government must announce a financial stimulus package to deal with the adverse impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the country’s economy. Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken far reaching measures to help the most vulnerable segments of society and mitigate the economic losses to businesses and industries. The allocation of Rs.100 billion for small and medium industries  will aid in the revival of Industry. The government should declare the import of machinery for energy generation duty free for the elimination of energy crisis.

All export related industries should be made tax free for the promotion of business in the country as it will create job opportunities for the masses. The government should call a conference of businessmen before taking any decision regarding taxes in the next budget.

Q: There are reports of raising taxes on raw material processed during manufacturing in the country.

Ans: Raising the sales tax on the purchase of raw material will badly damage the textile Industry. The business situation is already bad in the country due pandemic crisis and it will worsen if taxes are further raised.

Q: Any suggestion for settling pending refunds claim of business community?

Ans: Federal Board of Revenue should adopt a more speedy method for the issuance of past refund claims as the manufacturers and exporters are facing extreme shortage of working capital

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