The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), while calling for framing a business-friendly budget, has said that the federal budget 2021-22 will be the most important document in the context of Covid-19, which has shattered foundations of the economy.

While meeting a group of businessmen, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah, Senior Vice President Nasir Hameed Khan and Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry said the budget was the most important document for any country as it set the economic direction for the entire year.

“It is important that the budget for fiscal year 2021-22 has doable suggestions of the business community in its fold.”

They said Pakistan was an energy and water-starved country and needed to make substantial investment for the development of power sector infrastructure that could meet growing needs of the economy.

The LCCI officials stated that the government should ensure substantial public investment in the power transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Talking about circular debt, they said in order to cope with the debt on a sustainable basis, Pakistan would have to ensure that the electric power sector was efficient and competitive.

“This will require consistent structural and institutional reforms. In particular, removal of subsidies and adherence to full-cost recovery will have to be ensured,” they said.

Moreover, the LCCI office-bearers said tariffs should fully reflect normal profits and the power sector’s large debt overhang also needed to be eliminated.

They recommended that given the substantial and untapped potential of alternative sources of energy, sufficient funds should be dedicated to the development of biofuels, biomass and other renewable sources of energy.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2021.

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