LAHORE: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will process refunds of Hafeez Center fire victims on priority basis.
The government has given Rs57 billion tax relief to the business community due to COVID -19 and reduced rate of provincial sales tax on thirteen sectors mostly affected by the pandemic.
Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has expressed these views on Thursday while addressing businessmen at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar said that Rs5 billion special relief package for the affectees of the Hafeez Center inferno has been set aside.
Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan, Finance Minister Punjab Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, President LCCI Mian Tariq Misbah, Senior Vice President Nasir Hameed khan, Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry, President Bank of Punjab Zafar Masood, President SAARC Chamber of Commerce Iftikhar Ali Malik, former presidents Almas Hyder, Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, former senior vice president Ali Hussam Asghar were also present on the occasion.
The Chief Minister said the Bank of Punjab (BOP) will provide soft loans to the fire victims and for that purpose a special desk of BoP has been established very near to the Hafeez Center. The BoP will finance at affordable prices under Kamyab Jawan & Punjab Rozgar Scheme and BoP Apni Dokan, adding it will also provide flexible financial solutions to cater renovation of existing shop / office premises, Purchase of new shop / office premises, purchase of inventory / stocks to restart the business activities.
Furthermore, the Chief Minister said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has announced the refunds of the Hafeez Center fire victims on priority basis.
Sardar Usman Buzdar said the BoP has also offered 135 shops (owned by bank) available at IT Tower Lahore at affordable terms. The Chief Minister said to further the business activity in Punjab, the government has planned to establish 13 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Punjab, The work has commenced on SEZs in Faislabad and Lahore, adding the SEZ in Bahawlpur and Muzafargarh will be announced soon.
He said that the PTI government has always supported the business community. The government has given Rs57 billion tax relief to the business community due to COVID -19, adding that the government has reduced the rate of provincial sales tax on thirteen sectors mostly affected by the COVID-19.
Earlier, the LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah especially thanked the Chief Minister for accepting LCCI’s demands for a relief package for Hafeez Center affectees.
Mian Tariq Misbah said that the business community has some long-standing issues which require the immediate attention of the government.
He said “We fully support the measures to strengthen the Price Control mechanism but there should not be any injustice to anyone”, adding there should be fair representation of LCCI in District Administration Committees for timely resolution of administration related issues. The LCCI president said to resolve the issues in Development of Lahore, a Joint High Powered Committee should be constituted which may include four representatives of private sector nominated by LCCI in addition to the representatives of relevant Government Departments. He again emphasized on the dire need of new parking plazas in Lahore due to the growing needs of the city. We are ready to work with the Government of Punjab in this regard.
Mian Tariq Misbah said encroachments have affected the commercial areas of Lahore.
These areas should be made free of encroachments as it is in some way adding to the cost of doing business. The LCCI President said the Safe City surveillance should be extended for all the markets of Lahore along with measures to control street crimes. He said the high rate of conversion fee (20 percent of commercial value) for land use charged by LDA is an impediment to industrialization and should be abolished.
He said the water tariff of WASA Lahore for industrial and commercial users (Rs100,000 for 1 cusec and Rs50,000 for ½ cusec) is extremely high as compared to other cities of Punjab like Faisalabad and Multan etc. LCCI recommends that across all cities, it should be uniform.
LCCI President appreciated the fact that The Government of Punjab is providing a relief package to the affected shopkeepers of Hafeez Center, adding “We propose that they should also be given relief in provincial taxes”.
The officials of Federal Board of Revenue have started raiding the godowns without any prior notice which creates harassment, he requested the CM to take up the matter with federal government.