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Energy, R&D to be top priorities: LCCI president

Farooq Iftikhar, the newly-elected president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has said that energy, research and development coupled with full electronic facilitation to the chamber members would be the priorities during his tenure, according to a statement on Saturday.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, senior vice president, and Mian Abuzar Shad, vice president, highlighted their priorities for the coming year at the annual general meeting.

Iftikhar said that the chamber concentrates on energy, which is mother of all economic ills, adding that the year would be observed as energy-focused.

Viable proposals would be prepared in collaboration with the energy experts and leading businessmen to be forwarded to the government for implementation, he said.

Seminars and workshops on this subject would be conducted, he added.

However, he suggested the government to expedite work on the ongoing hydel and alternative energy projects for cheaper generation.

Other issues that would be focused included trade with India, promotion of agro-based industry, restructuring of LCCI Research and Development Department (R&D), to work for betterment of trade and industry, reduction in markup rate, improvement in the law and order situation, economy and environment-related regulations, he said.

Leading economists, technocrats, businessmen, bankers and former presidents of the chamber would be consulted on regular basis to suggest the government as to how the economic revival could be achieved in shortest possible time, said Iftikhar.

Sheikh said that simplification of all tax procedures, both provincial and federal, would be on his priority list. The government would be asked to take all measures to increase the tax-to-GDP ratio, he said.

Shad said that he would particularly focus on promotion of domestic commerce that would give gloom on the economic front, adding that the new LCCI management would chalk-out market visit programme and listen to the problems of the business community for early solution of their issues.

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