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Twin cities business community demands detailed information on CPEC

ISLAMABAD: The business community of Rawalpindi and Islamabad has called upon the government to share full information of CPEC project with the private sector as holding back its complete detail was creating many concerns in the local businessmen.

This was the upshot of a discussion between the twin cities business community when a delegation of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by President Zahid Latif Khan visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Nasir Mirza Senior Vice President, Khalid Farooq Qazi Vice President, Sohail Altaf Group Leader, former Presidents and executive members of RCCI were in the delegation.

In a joint statement, Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Zahif Latif Khan, President, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry said an industrial zone under CPEC was planned for Rawalpindi& Islamabad, but government has not consulted with the chambers of the twin cities about its location and the industries to be set in it, which was regrettable. They stressed that the said industrial zone should be established in consultation with the chambers of twin cities.

They said that the business community of twin cities was supportive of the CPEC project as it has created lot of hopes for the country, but their only concern was that the local industry should not get hurt in any manner from this project. They said businessmen wanted to know the detail of incentives government has finalized for Chinese and local investors for investing in CPEC and tax concessions for Chinese and local industrialists on import of machinery, but such important information was not made public as yet.

They said the business community was key stakeholder in CPEC and government should have taken the local private sector on board from the very beginning so that businessmen could prepare themselves to maximize business prospects from this mega development project, but keeping them in the dark about key information was creating many concerns. They urged that government should immediately share full detail of CPEC with private sector to remove its concerns.

Sheikh Amir Waheed and Zahid Latif Khan discussed FBR related issues including raids on business premises, installation of real time monitory system on restaurants, attachment of bank accounts, high taxes on real estate sector, enforcement of 40B etc. and emphasized that FBR should address these issues, otherwise they would launch joint efforts for safeguard of their business interests. They also demanded that Pakistan Standards Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) should take both chambers on board for compliance of standards by retailers. The issues related to EOBI, social security and labor inspectors were also discussed and it was agreed that both chambers would take united stand on such issues. Both Chambers also agreed to form a joint committee for developing close liaison and making joint efforts to resolve the common issues of the business community of twin cities.

They said that the sit in (Dharnas) in the twin cities always badly affected the business activities and business community has to face great problems due to Dharna culture. They urged that the administrations of both cities should earmark separate place for such activities away from the twin cities to save the business community from further losses.

Khalid Javed Group Leader ICCI, Sohail Altaf Group Leader RCCI, Abdul Rauf Alam, S.M.Naseem, Zubair Ahmed Malik, Mian Akram Fareed, Asad Mashadi, Tariq Sadiq, Kashif  Shabbir, Zahid Maqbool, Mian Shaukat Masud, Humayun Pervaiz, Ejaz Abbasi, Ahmed Mughal, Baser Daud and others also spoke at the occasion. The speakers voiced that both chambers will devise a common strategy to address issues faced by the business community and representatives of the trade associations will be taken on board. NNI

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