Lahore - Local manufacturers should be encouraged to invest in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) has demanded in its budget proposals for the financial year 2016-17.

LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad, Senior Vice President Almas Hyder and Vice President Nasir Saeed said that projects like CPEC had the capacity to stimulate the local economy by increasing the demand for locally manufactured goods.

“Such increase in demand will not only allow full utilisation of the existing manufacturing potential, but will also encourage the manufacturers to increase their capacity,” they said.

They said that this would generate much needed employment opportunities, and would also contribute a sizeable amount of revenue to the national exchequer.

LCCI office-bearers lamented that unfortunately, the local manufacturers were facing quite the opposite situation, as the government, through CGO No 3 of 2015, had effectively excluded the locally produced goods from all power projects above 25MW.

“It withdrew the concessionary custom duties from the raw materials for the industry, covered under SRO 565. In most of the cases, the import duty on raw materials has been increased from 10 to 20 percent, which has resulted in higher raw material costs for the local manufacturers,” they elaborated.

They said, furthermore, declaring zero percent custom duty (serial no 12 of the Fifth Schedule) and sales tax (serial no 7 of Table 3 Sixth Schedule) on the import of machinery, equipment and spare parts had made it impossible for the local manufacturers to benefit from the huge economic activity, CPEC was expected to generate.