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Pakistan enters 21st century


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Our nation desires for the democracy but not the dishonest politicians

By Inam Ellahi Shaikh
Chairman, UNIBRO
May 08 - 21, 2000

Pakistan has entered into 21st Century and have to meet the challenges of new millennium. New events are taking place changing the established setup in existence for decades. In the past and presently as well, we have been dictated by the West, and its patronized bodies like IMF and World Bank. Pakistan has been in their clutches for years resulting in the present state of affairs. We are passing through economical, social, cultural and financial problems which have been multiplied with the bureaucratic red-tapism, corrupt influence by dishonest politicians. Additionally Feudal Lords have been exploiting the party in power. Against this the economic sector being the only sector has achieved major goals towards prosperity of Pakistan but unfortunately this sector is being blamed for ills which is really regrettable as they are being treated as scapegoat inspite of their good performance. Let us not forget that America the only Super Power is due to its economic achievements, whereas against this in Pakistan, we still have to asscertain correct statistics figures of Agricultural and Industrial production to support our fiscal measures and making of the annual budget. Our nation desires for the democracy but not the dishonest politicians that is why a change has been always welcomed, which brought out by the valiant sons and defenders of the country and it has proved to be The Blessing for the nation.

With the changing world's scenario, hostile neighbor being patronized by America, and Pakistan being a Nuclear Power now, a cautious approach and revisions of our national policies are considered absolutely necessary. We may have to have much closer ties with China a Super Power in this region and a tested friend at the time of crises, bearing in mind that 21st century will be the Chinese century, Western powers in general and USA in particular have betrayed us in the past resulting in the dismemberment of Pakistan.

We must learn to stand on our own feet and get rid of the dependency on the West, we must tap our agricultural, mineral and economic resources and non-residents Pakistanis abroad. The confidence of the non-residents Pakistanis have to be built-up which was badly shaken due to freezing of the Foreign Exchange accounts in 1998 and a prior flight of almost 172 Million Dollars and later conversion of the same in Pak-Currency. The donations towards building of Pakistan by getting rid of the debts were never accounted for nor any incentive provided to the investment of their foreign exchange earnings on preferential basis. It is high time that investment incentives and tax concessions are offered to such non-resident Pakistanis.

Understanding that overseas Pakistanis are engaged in the investment in foreign shares market and in real estate since they have security of investment, why should not we create the same situation in Pakistan to encourage and liberalize our policies in order to impress the prospective investment.

The example of UAE specially Dubai can be taken into consideration and their liberal policies for encouragement of investment may be adopted. We have the Export Processing Zones but unfortunately bottlenecks are created in the way of investment. This issue requires probe and investigation as to why Pakistan was unable to achieve goals. I propose the following points, need attention and consideration of the authorities concerned.

System simplification: System must be simplified and streamlined eliminating the bottlenecks in the way of investments.

Refundable funds: Refundable funds which are due on account of Sales Tax, Income Tax must be cleared expeditiously without any delay . You may agree that there is no justification for withholding the funds of exporters when the Government applies all its force to recover any of its dues.

Setting up of an enterprise: Presently Pakistani entrepreneurs has to run pillar to post for setting- up an Enterprise, hence these procedures should be simplified either by way of one window operation or having one Ministry to deal with entirely the establishment of an enterprise, such a Ministry is in existence in Japan known M.I.T.I., which exclusively is devoted to render services to business entrepreneurs.

Investment And Tax Incentives For Non - Resident Pakistanis are also suggested to be furnished.

Visa card: In India Visa Card Scheme has been introduced for long terms, whereas Government of Pakistan is also intending to introduce the same for their overseas Pakistanis. The card scheme would facilitate their visits to Pakistan freely and have the benefits of economics, financial, educational and cultural. Such cards are proposed to be issued for 10 years at a rate of US$ 500 /- compared to charges by the Indian Government at US$ 1000/- for 20 Years.

In addition certain incentives are also proposed to boost export by inviting investments from non - residents Pakistanis, Card holders and Overseas Corporate Bodies. These investment incentives are suggested to be repatriable and to be eligible for investment to the extant of one hundred per cent out of his own foreign exchange earnings.

Income tax: The income from investment by non-resident Pakistanis should be totally exempted from all taxes as being done in cases of establishments in export processing zones.

Wealth tax: Due change of residency by non-residents on return to Pakistan, the entire money and value of assets brought by him into Pakistan to be totally exempted from Wealth Tax. Any assets purchased by him or investment made in Industrial/Commercial sectors out of such money within one year also to be exempted from Wealth Tax for a period of 10 years. It may not have much impact on the national income since the current rate of Wealth Tax over the aggregate value of chargeable assets over Rs. 1 Million, is @ 0.5 % to progressively to 2.5 % for the amount over Rs. 2 Million.

These suggestions in our opinion would encourage the non - resident Pakistanis who are otherwise hesitant because of the fear of the red tapism and / or blocking of their funds.

Let us not forget that this nation was created for the benefit of Muslims of this sub-continent by the concerted efforts of Father of Nation along with his comrades who got us this piece of land to live according to dictates of Islam. Every citizen must bear in mind that in unity we live and divided we fall.B

Profile Inam Elahi Shaikh

The writer Inam Ellahi Shaikh is the Chairman of Unibro Group of Companies, a family venture, striving hard to achieve excellence in export marketing of fabrics and linen, getting precious foreign exchange for the country. Chairman Inam Ellahi Shaikh is an industrialist who had the business prior to partition and brought the same into Pakistan at the time of its inception, expanded it many folds. He served in the movement for creation of Pakistan and attended the Muslim League session in Madras in 1942, where Quaid-e-Azam and various other devoted leaders of creation of Pakistan were present.

He had held number of important offices as:
•Vice Chairman: All Pakistan Cloth Exporters Association. •Chairman: Hyderabad Institute of International Affairs. •Patron: Chiniot Shaikhs Residents' Association of D.H.A., Phase-I, Karachi.
•Member: Majlis Behboud Flah Association Alhamra. •Ex-Director: S.I.T.E. Ltd. Karachi. (For 10 Yrs). •Ex-Member: M.C of K.V.S.I.T.E. Social Security Hospital.
•Ex-Member: The M.C. of A.P.T.M.A.
•Ex-Chairman: Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Hyderabad.
•Ex-Chairman: Pak Gulf Leasing Company Ltd. •Ex-President: R.C.D. Youth Friendship Association, Hyderabad.
•Ex-President: Hyderabad District T.B. Association.
•Past Deputy Governor: Lions International Club. •Founder: Hyderabad Lions Leprosy Foundation, 1970. •Past Treasurer: Pakistan Muslim League, Hyderabad (During Government of Mr. Ayub Khan).

He is a Philanthropist and known social figure of various social welfare organizations, in particular with Lions Club International.

He had to his credit establishment of Hyderabad Lions Leprosy Foundation and Lions Club Polio Foundation at Karachi. Whereas presently engaged at the completion of the 200 beds Hospital at North-Karachi for Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is rendering support to a number of social welfare projects including Mosques, Dispensaries etc., in the low income areas.