Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla on Monday called for drawing up a charter of economy that should be followed by all governments, stressing that it was the need of the hour.

At a meeting with members of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mandviwalla stated that economic policies should not be changed according to wishes of political parties as no country could move ahead without a stable economy. He admitted that the issue of tax refunds was affecting the business sector negatively.

Calling for an out-of-the-box solution, the Senate deputy chairman said that the refund system should be fully automated on the model of developed countries. “I would take up this matter with the finance minister,” he emphasised.

Mandviwalla was of the view that all export-oriented industries should be zero-rated, adding that the existing volume of exports was a matter of concern.

Underlining the need for putting in place a separate system for the Export Development Fund (EDF), he said EDF should have a separate bank account and should be given directly to the business community.

Moreover, he pointed out that the budget process started from January and budget proposals from the business community should be sent to the government, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Senate by the end of February so that those could be discussed and made part of the budget.

“Only trade and industry can put the country on the path of economic stability,” the Senate deputy chairman said and added that the industry could not play its role in the presence of gas shortage, high input cost and delay in refunds.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said the industry had been trapped in a cycle of negative growth rates and stagnation of exports for the last few years.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2021.

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