The Express Tribune
Published Date: Oct 21, 2017
K-P businessmen seek specialised policies to promote trade
PESHAWAR: With businesses having suffered in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for decades owing to insecurity, businessmen and politicians have asked the federal government for specialised policies which promote manufacturing, trade and investment in the province
“K-P’s economy has suffered due to instability and sore relationship with Afghanistan,” said Bushra Gohar, the Central Vice President of the Awami National Party (ANP) while talking speaking at a roundtable organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) on Friday.
Gohar expressed concern over the preference of policymakers for short-term fixes to long-standing structural issues such as low tax-to-GDP ratio, low investment and regional trade, and persistent trade and fiscal deficits.
Stressing the importance of trade with Afghanistan, the traders and politicians also called for an end to repeated and arbitrary closures of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border which affects the economy on both sides.
“Due to the prevalent law and order environment, [this area] has lagged behind other parts of the country,” lamented Zahidullah Shinwari, a senior businessman and former president of the K-P Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Shinwari asked for a preferential trade and investment policies to level the playing field with other provinces. The trader urged the federal government to facilitate local investors along the same lines as foreign investors and called for lifting a moratorium on providing new utility connections, which discourage investment in the industrial sector.
Professor Ibrahim of the Jamat-e-Islami called for fully implementing the 18th amendment in terms of resource allocation for provinces and expressed concerns over the fall in direct taxes and rise in indirect taxes under the current fiscal regime.
Senator Noman Wazir of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) termed the federal government’s claims of an economic turnaround as misleading.