High cost of business hurting economy, exports: Chairman PIAF

LAHORE, Jan 07 (INP): Chairman Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF), Mian Nauman Kabir has said that the cost of doing business has increased manifold, leading to not increasing the exports rather decline in exports.

In a statement issued here on Monday, Mian Nauman Kabir appreciated the government for cut in energy tariff for the value-added exporting industry, urging the authorities to also extend this facility to the local industry to curtail the inflation, as increased cost of doing business is hurting it severely.

He also appreciated the government’s commitment to disburse outstanding refunds of exporting industry.

The chairman PIAF said that the Federal Minister has assured business leaders to disburse over Rs100 billion under sales tax refund claims in shortest period. He hailed the government for fulfilling its commitment regarding payment of stuck refunds of exporters.

He highlighted that gas tariff per MMBTU in dollar terms in Bangladesh is $3.35; in India is $4.66 and in Vietnam is $6 and in Pakistan $7.59 including Rs 200 GIDC (Gas Infrastructure Development Cess) which is 126 percent higher than Bangladesh; 62.87 percent higher than India and 26.5 percent higher than Vietnam.

Commenting on electricity tariff, Mian Nauman Kabir stated that electricity tariff per KHW in Bangladesh is $0.09; in India is $0.09 and in Vietnam is $0.08 and in Pakistan is $0.11 which is 22.2 percent higher than Bangladesh & India and 37.5 percent higher than Vietnam.

Therefore, he demanded that gas tariff for industry should be reduced at least by 10 percent.

Senior Vice Chairman PIAF Nasir Hameed Khan and Vice Chairman Javed Iqbal Siddiqui emphasized that reduction in inputs is the long awaited demand of the value added industry to make competitive the Pakistani exporters in the international market because minimum wage in Pakistan is 111 percent higher than Bangladesh (Pakistan US $144 and Bangladesh US $68). Hence, 20 percent reduction will make Pakistani exporters viable to compete with regional competitors.

The PIAF office bearers said that the declining trend in export has added burden on the national economy and the new energy tariff introduced by this government will provide necessary incentives to the export sector in addition to introducing proactive export friendly policies.

Mian Nauman Kabir further stated that our industry has a potential to double its exports if provided level of playing field. Unless and until the cost of doing business is not reduced desired results as per incentives given for increasing exports would not be achieved. He urged the government to lower down the electricity & gas tariff rates at regionally competitive rate

“Bangladesh has captured our garment share in the international market for which the government should provide relief to the garment sector,” the chairman PIAF said and also stressed the need for immediate payment of refunds to help improve the businessmen liquidity.

INP/SB/AK