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LCCI for Energy/Water-Focused Budget 2016-17

LAHORE: Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has hoped that Federal Budget will be business friendly and energy/water-focused.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the Chamber’s President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad, Senior Vice President Almas Hyder and Vice President Nasir Saeed said that in view the growing energy demand and water scarcity, there is a dire need to allocate maximum funds for energy and water projects.

“Energy is engine of growth while being an agrarian country, availability of sufficient water is a must therefore these two particular areas should be the top priority of the government in the budget,” they added.

They said that sufficient energy would not only give expansion to the industrial sector and generate millions new jobs but would also doubled the exports. They urged the government to allocate adequate funds for Kalabagh Dam and Thar coal project. The LCCI office-bearers said that the country’s reliance on costly thermal power was jacking up the cost of production and the import bill as well. “The country needs an urgent transfer in its energy-mix in favour of hydel power and alternate energy resources.”

They suggested that use of bio-gas should be promoted in the rural areas both for electricity generation and gas for cooking besides producing bio fertilizer.

They said that over 175 billion tons of Thar coal reserves are enough to provide 100,000 MW of electricity for 100 years. Though government was doing a lot at this front but efforts should be accelerated as the uninterrupted and affordable power supplies can turn Pakistan into an economic powerhouse.

They also urged the decision makers to also focus on enforcement of law and order while lowering of tariffs on smuggling prone items, increasing the share of direct taxes in revenue and lowering the slab of indirect taxes in the forthcoming budget to achieve key economic targets set for the year 2016-17.

The LCCI office-bearers said that a number of sectors in Pakistan including infrastructure development, coal, energy, agriculture, livestock, textiles and pharmaceutical offer lucrative investment opportunities to foreign investors but unfortunately due to absence of a proper and well tailored marketing strategy, these opportunities are unattended even today.