ISLAMABAD: Business community on Tuesday urged the government for repealing Punjab infrastructure Development Cess (PIDC) in order to accelerate the economic activities in the province and restore the confidence of business community. In a press statement President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman United Business Group Iftikhar Ali Malik said that the black act was enacted by PML(N) government in 2015 without taking stakeholders into confidence and realizing its impact on the economy. He said that PIDC, which ultimately dampened business activities in the province by forcing importers to take refuge in Karachi dry port against PIDC as such type of anti-business cess is not imposed in Sindh. He said that the irrational levy of 0.9 percent Punjab infrastructure Development Cess (PIDC) slashed Rs 398.78 billion Punjab revenue within three years besides shifting of imports clearance from Lahore, Sialkot and Faisalabad dry ports to Karachi dry ports and thus, avoiding additional financial burden on ease of doing business. While talking to 10 members importers delegation jointly led by former FPCCI Vice Presidents Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Chaudhry, Malik urged the government to repeal of PIDC act to accelerate the economic activities in the province and restore the confidence of business community. Iftikhar Ali Malik said that act has adversely created its impact on business volumes at Dry Ports in Punjab, resulting in considerable diversion of tax revenues away from the province and hampered the businesses of clearing agents, transportation companies and other allied services that provide sizeable employment. ‘Abolishing this Cess will stimulate our economic revival and restore the image of Punjab as a major commercial hub’, he added. Mian Aziz Rehman Chan stated that, on the other hand, revenue started taking a steep dip from Rs 483.788 billion in 2017-18 to Rs.408.051 billion in 2018-19, which has now crossed Rs.295.219 mark of fiscal 2019-20. He lamented that following shift of trading hustle and bustle to Karachi over burdening it’s deports resulted inordinate delay in clearance. Chaudhary Zahid Iqbal Arain sharing on the issue said that importers in Punjab prefer to get their consignments cleared from Karachi and deliver those directly to their respective warehouses in Punjab to avoid additional financial burden to compete global markets. He also said that, unfortunately during period under review, thousands of labourers were also rendered jobs less besides registering alarming decrease in revenue of three Dryports. He said that for the first time in history, the entire business community and all the chambers of commerce and Industry across the province are on one page for rescinding this act with immediate effect or at least suspend its operation till its final setting aside to provide solace to already hard-hit importers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.