The stone crushing industry on Saturday called off its strike after successful negotiations with Federal Minister for Finance Hammad Azhar. A delegation of association led by Provincial Minister for Labour Punjab Ansar Majeed Khan met with the Federal Minister for Finance and apprised him about the concerns of industry after new sales tax regime and its impact on overall development of the sector. The delegation urged the minister for ensuring sales tax of stone crushing industry of Sargodha at par with other districts. Besides the other industrialists related to crushing industry, they urged for fixing the sales tax and demanded the government to impose fixed sales tax as according to different categories that would help in simplification of tax system and promote other related industries in the country. Minister for Finance Hammad Azhar admitted the concerns of industry and assured them full support of the government for the revival of industrial sector of the country. He directed the Federal Board of Revenue for negotiations with Stone Crushing Association to formulate a strategy to address their concerns and resolve their issues. The minister also termed stone crushing Industry a vital component for the development of construction Industry. The members of the delegation including Rana Arshad, Chaudhry Pervaz Masood and Tahir Bashir were also presented in the meeting. Exports: Chairman Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front (PIAF) Mian Nauman Kabir has said the government has to formulate long-term and consistent policies for the revival of industry and considerable improvement in exports, as contrary to regional countries, Pakistan’s exports have remained stagnant for a long time, and unless attention was paid to all factors that hamper industrial and exports growth, the country might not be able to achieve desired results. The PIAF Chairman, in a joint statement with vice chairman Javed Siddiqi, observed that it was imperative to make power and gas tariffs for domestic, as well as export sectors compatible with the tariff being applied in regional and neighbouring countries. Mian Kabir said the government had pledged to revamp the power sector and continued to raise electricity prices to eliminate subsidies, but failed to implement reforms to make the power sector efficient. The circular debt issue could have been resolved today, if the government had eliminated production, transmission and distribution losses; checked electricity theft and recovered the outstanding electricity dues, he stressed. He said the constant increases in energy rates on the behest of the International Monetary Fund would make the Pakistani products uncompetitive in the international market. Meanwhile, talking to a trade delegation at his office, Chairman PIAF said the regular attempt of economic managers to increase oil prices along with the hike in power and gas tariffs will ultimately harm the government’s overall move of reducing the production cost in the country announced by the prime minister in various phases. The present, as well as the previous governments, had always been forced for an exorbitant hike in the energy tariffs due to excessive capacity payment to IPPs in dollars, leading to further addition in public debt of the government, which ultimately passed on to the end-consumers. Quoting a report, he said the power crisis has cost $82 billion in lost GDP between 2007 and 2020. In per capita terms, the power crisis has cost each Rs43,504 during this period, with rupee per capita GDP lower by 23 per cent as a result. The lower GDP growth cost approximately 0.9 to 1.6 million jobs a year, on average, between 2007 and 2018. Fiscal costs to the budget have amounted to a further 1.2pc of GDP each year, on average, between FY2007 to FY2019. Mian Nauman Kabir called for power sector reforms, considering the matter of overbilling, technical losses, transmission issues, proposal on decentralisation of the sector, promotion of off grid solutions, incentives for renewable energy solutions and capacity payments to the independent power producers. If the government failed to take immediate measures the power sector is likely to choke up due to heavy outstanding dues, he feared. For the current fiscal year the government had set the economic growth target at 2 percent, which will be better in the current economic situation but is not enough to create jobs for a growing population. He said that the industrial sector has a major contribution to the tax collection and the sector’s share in revenues is almost triple than its contribution to the overall economic output.