Govt assures businesses of complete support amid corona crisis


–Finance adviser says a ‘comprehensive relief package’ will soon be announced to address liquidity issues being faced by industries

–Constitutes five-member committee to chalk out incentives for retail sector

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Thursday that the government was commitment to resolving liquidity and cash flow issues being faced by industries and businesses due to coronavirus lockdown.

Chairing a meeting-cum-video conference with leading industrialists and businessmen of the country, the adviser said that the government has already started its work in this regard by releasing more than Rs115 billion of sales tax and income tax refunds/duty drawbacks stuck for many years.

Industries and Production Minister Hammad Azhar, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairperson Nausheen Javaid Amjad were also present on the occasion.

During the conference, Hafeez Shaikh heard various proposals and suggestions from the business community, and assured the participants that the government would carefully study all the proposals and would soon a comprehensive relief package for the industry.

He told the meeting that the government had released Rs52 billion of the claimed Rs57 billion to exporters through the FBR’s FASTER system. Similarly, he added, the government had also cleared about Rs30 billion tax refunds under DLTL, besides clearing Rs15 billion in duty drawbacks.

“In addition, the government has decided to pay within the next week all income tax refunds held up since 2014 and this measure alone would benefit nearly 100,000 taxpayers who would be paid over Rs50 billion worth of refunds.”

Earlier, the businessmen and industrialists had called for an ‘inclusive relief package’ that could address the needs of the large-scale as well as SME sectors.


Meanwhile, the adviser constituted a five-member committee, including senior officials from the Finance Division and FBR, to sit with the stakeholders and finalise proposals to provide relief to the retail sector in wake of the prevailing situation.

Representatives of the Retails Association of Pakistan informed the meeting that the country’s retail sector was contributing 18 per cent to the GDP, besides employing 16 per cent of the labour force. They said that owing to the prevailing circumstances, they are foreseeing negative growth in the current year, hence it was imperative to provide relief to the retail sector, especially the integrated sector.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said the government was keen to help the retail sector and in this regard constituted a committee to further discuss the proposals offered by RAP representatives.

He directed the committee to follow a quick-action approach to decide the support mechanism, as the government wanted early redressal of hardships being faced by the various sectors of the economy.


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