Developing an Economic Road Map for 2018 – Through a High Level Public-Private Dialogue

Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, State Minister for Finance, and Economic Affairs has stressed that all political parties should develop consensus on economic roadmap to make Pakistan a strong economy. He was addressing as the Chief Guest at a public-private dialogue on “Charter of Economy and Economic Agenda for Elections 2018” organized by Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) in collaboration with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). He said charter of economy was absolutely necessary for achieving better economic growth and all political parties should rise above their political interests and develop consensus on economic roadmap and national economic agenda to put Pakistan on the path of sustainable economic growth. He said the current government might not have performed outstandingly, but it saved the economy from bankruptcy and brought improvement in many areas. He said Pakistan needed to promote economies of scale and ensure continuity of systems and policies for better economic growth. He said the current government differentiated between the filers and non-filers through tax measures. He said there was nothing secret in CPEC and Phase-I of CPEC of Early Harvest Projects was heading towards successful completion. He said private sector businesses should play more effective role in capital market for capital generation. He said private sector should channelize foreign remittances in productive sectors.

He appreciated ICCI initiative for organizing public-private dialogue on charter of economy and said that such dialogues should be held regularly bring public-private sectors on one platform and develop consensus on economic policies.

Dr. Farid Ahmed Piracha Deputy Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, MNAs Asad Umar and Abdul Rashid Godil, Anwar Saifullah, ArifJeewa Chairman ABAD, Zahid Latif Khan President Rawalpindi Chamber, Haji Manzoor Elahi President Haripur Chamber, Anila Fatima of Islamabad Women Chamber, Farhan Razzaq Dar President Jhelum Chamber, Vice President of Gujrat Chamber and representatives of various other Chambers of Commerce & Industry also spoke at the occasion and stressed that government should bring drastic reforms in taxation system to make it simplified and easy for compliance for a common taxpayer. They emphasized that tax rates should be reduced to single digit level that would help in improving tax revenue. They said government should focus on improving the competitiveness of Pakistan’s to promote trade and exports. They said level playing field should be provided to Chinese and local investors in CPEC and local industry should not get affected by this project. They should promote industrialization in Pakistan instead of making it a trading and consumers market. They said more dams should be built to produce cheap energy and ensure food security in the country.

Dr. Waqar Ahmed Deputy Executive Director of SDPI gave a detailed presentation on the key features of Charter of Economy and said that the current and future governments in Pakistan should carefully evaluate how they could help new enterprises and SMEs through reduction in cost of energy, tax compliance and labor. He said clear interventions should be devised by Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue for improved competitiveness of private enterprises. The fiscal packages announced for export-oriented sectors would only deliver if inter-ministerial coordination improved and there was a strong dialogue between federal and provincial governments on industrial productivity. He said the private sector would require government’s support in reducing cost of product certifications and connecting with Chinese industrial hubs. He said continuous efforts were required to improve logistics performance including time and cost of port processing, customs clearance and transportation.

Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry welcomed all the participants to the event and said that ICCI for the first time has taken an initiative in collaboration with SDPI and CIPE to bring public and private sector stakeholders of economy at one platform to discuss Charter of Economy so that political parties could make it a part of their party manifesto for the coming elections. He hoped that the points discussed in the dialogue would provide a way forward to all political parties to come up with better solutions for coping with major economic challenges being faced by Pakistan. Muhammad Naveed Senior Vice President ICCI thanked all the participants for attending the event.

Mian Shaukat Masud, Dildar Abbasi, Zia A Zikria and many others also spoke at the occasion and offered useful recommendations to improve the business and economic environment in the country. Eighteen was the official sponsor of the event and they also gave a presentation on their project. Shaban Khalid former President ICCI was the moderator of the dialogue.

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