LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the Punjab government to withdraw Punjab infrastructure development cess as it is a dual tax and distressing the industries in Punjab.

LCCI President Malik Tahir Javed in a statement on Tuesday said the cess is dual tax which is being charged at 1.05 per cent on imported consignments in Sindh and 0.90 per cent at dry ports in Punjab on the pretext to provide resources for maintenance, development and improvement of infrastructure required to cater for load of goods traffic and to deal with other purpose but ground realities are quite different.

The levy of this cess is discriminatory and will further burden existing taxpayers instead of broadening tax net, he said, and added that after imposition of Punjab infrastructure development cess, the businessmen have started clearing their consignment in other provinces to avoid this tax which is not only hurting business of clearing agents and transportation companies that provide employment to thousands but would also cause huge damage to the provincial kitty.

The LCCI chief said the cess is an indirect tax as it is being charged on movement of goods including raw materials cleared on dry ports of Punjab and proving an impediment to economic growth of the province. The trade and industry would be hit by the move and it would result in increased input cost, he added.

He said the businessmen are already finding it hard to cope with a number of internal and external challenges while this cess would add to their miseries. The Punjab infrastructure development cess would also give an impression that business atmosphere in Punjab is not favourable, he added.

Malik Tahir Javed said that businessmen of Punjab should be given some breathing space to supplement the Punjab government efforts aimed at economic revival of the province. There is a dire need to avoid new levies as they are not in a position to bear extra burden. He urged the Punjab Chief Minister to take up the matter personally and withdraw Punjab infrastructure development cess.