PM vows to protect businesses from GIDC impact

KARACHI: The government will protect the business community from the impact of gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC), said Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday.

“We will protect business community from the harsh impact of GIDC,”

Zahid Hussain, president of Bizmen Intellectual Forum said, citing the premier as saying during a meeting with a delegation of businessmen at the Governor House.

“He (premier) advised Hafeez Shailkh (adviser to PM on finance) to devise a mechanism in this regard,” said Hussain who attended the meeting.

The meeting was attended by federal ministers, adviser on finance, and State Bank of Pakistan Governor.

Businessmen have been complaining against the misinterpretation of GIDC verdict by the Supreme Court that called for recovery of outstanding amount from businesses.

Khan said the government planned to automate business registration system to promote investment in the economy.

“Creating ease of doing business is our foremost priority. The government aims to bring automation in the business and investment systems,” he said.

“The business community plays a key role in the development of the country.

It is the duty of the government to provide them every facility including the infrastructure, uninterrupted utilities.”

He said the promotion of construction and its associated sectors will create abundant employment opportunities. Khan acknowledged the economic importance of Karachi. “Industrial and trading status of the city couldn’t be overlooked,” he said.

The premier blamed successive political government for the unplanned expansion of the city and assured the delegation that the infrastructure of the city would be restored to facilitate residents and businesses.

Karachi, responsible for over 55 percent of Pakistan’s exports by some accounts, faced unprecedented devastation as two separate bouts of rain lashed the city last week. Industrialists and exporters were facing serious logistics issues as containers could not reach production sites and port activity slowed down.

The premier announced development package worth Rs1.1 trillion to resolve problems of the city. The package would also include development of fruit and vegetable markets. The city’s main sabzi mandi contributes around 35 percent to exports of fruits and vegetables from the market.

“The deplorable state of infrastructure is a barrier to the growth of trade and exports sector,” he said. “Foreign buyers could not be invited due to awful state of the Karachi sabzi mandi.”

The delegation presented proposals to the prime minister for export promotion and tax reforms.

Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Agha Shahab apprised the meeting of the massive losses, which the business and trading community suffered during the Covid-19-induced lockdown and recent urban flooding. The government has recently lifted the lockdown after five months since March.

Shahab told The News that the delegation urged the government to facilitate and compensate the aggrieved businesspersons in a transparent manner.

The businessmen proposed the government to create a dozen more industrial zones in the city, which would facilitate wealth creation and its distribution among masses.

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