Database required to connect tariffs with industrial export

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(Khalid Sibtain)

Islamabad:   With the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin in chair, a meeting was held at the Finance Division to discuss the new tariff for the Industry / Export Oriented Sectors in the upcoming budget. Federal Minister for Industries & Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar were also present in the meeting along with Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood. Different options for concessional tariff were discussed in the meeting along with their implications on the subsidies, earnings, production and revenue generation. It was a general consensus that there is a need to generate a database which could establish the nexus between tariffs and progress of the export oriented sectors/industry. The Minister for Energy also drew the attention of the participants towards the scarcity of natural gas in the system (which is cheap) and the excess units of electricity available at a higher rate, and, to the already decided principle that the domestic users have the first right of use in case of natural gas. It was also acknowledged in the meeting that the least cost units offered by the government have proved beneficial for the overall productive health of the economy especially export oriented sectors. The Finance Minister, on this occasion, reiterated his firm commitment for accelerated growth with the willing contribution from the business community. The Chair after discussion with the relevant stakeholders, decided that for the next budget subsidies will be allocated on the basis of actual consumption/accrual and a more targeted approach for disbursement will be adopted. It was also decided in principle that the growth of Export Oriented sector will be the main objective of the government while offering any change/consistency in the rates, so that the industry should use its full potential and play its rightful role in the development of the country.