Budget 2024-25 Will Promote Smuggling: Gohar Tells CEEJ

Budget 2024-25 Will Promote Smuggling: Gohar Tells CEEJ

Karachi, June 24, 2024 – Muhammad Hanif Gohar, Former Senior Vice President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and General Secretary of the United Business Group (UBG) Sindh Zone, voiced strong criticism of the 2024-25 federal budget, warning that it would exacerbate smuggling activities rather than bolster the formal economy.

Gohar conveyed his concerns during a dinner held in honor of the Council of Economic and Energy Journalists (CEEJ) officials and members, including President Raja Kamran, Secretary Kashif Munir, Vice President Anjum Wahab, Secretary Information Masood Ahmed Siddiqui, and Treasurer Muhammad Ashraf.

Gohar emphasized that the new federal budget is particularly harsh on exporters, traders, industrialists, and other taxpayers, suggesting that the measures introduced would likely encourage smuggling.

“The federal budget is not for exporters, traders, industrialists, and those who already pay heavy taxes, but from the new federal budget smuggling will rise,” he stated. He further warned that the budget would fuel inflation, making life increasingly difficult for the lower and middle class.

Gohar also expressed his disappointment with the budget’s impact on the construction sector. He argued that the increased cost of construction materials would deprive the lower and middle class of their dream of owning a house. “It seems that some forces are trying to rob the lower and middle class of their dream of owning a house by making the products used in the construction industry expensive in the country,” he lamented.

Highlighting the broader economic implications, Gohar noted that Pakistan’s economy shows no signs of improvement, with export growth remaining elusive and the construction industry in crisis due to excessive taxation. He called on the government to take immediate action to control inflation, ensuring that basic necessities remain affordable for the lower income. “In the increasing inflation, it has become difficult for the poor people to live. The government should control the inflation so that the lower and middle class people can easily get two meals a day,” he urged.

Gohar called for a united effort from political leaders and the current government to address the economic challenges facing the country. He suggested that FPCCI President Atif Ikram Shaikh, in consultation with UBG Chief Patron SM Tanveer, should thoroughly review the budget reports sent to the government and address any deficiencies. “Our politicians and the present government should at least unite to control inflation and strengthen the country’s economy and put their differences aside for the betterment of the country,” he stated.

Gohar concluded by advocating for policies that would make essential goods affordable, thereby preserving the self-esteem of the people and ensuring they can provide for their families without external assistance.