LAHORE: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation– Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC-CCI) and United Business Group (UBG) in the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), here Friday termed the federal budget 2021-22 tax-free, balanced, growth- and export-oriented with a basket of excellent package of incentives to accelerate the economic activities across the country in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Commenting on the federal budget, presented by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin in the National Assembly, President SAARC Chamber and Central Chairman United Business Group (UBG) Iftikhar Ali Malik hailed the historic reforms for ‘Ease of doing business’. Malik said that the remarkable measures announced in the budget would help set a proper direction for the national economy to flourish as well as uplift poor segments of society. He said economic indicators would show an upward trend and the GDP growth would improve significantly with better remittances. He added that it’s an established phenomenon that survival of a state mainly rested on a sound economy. He hoped that Pakistan would progress in every sphere of life, following prudent economic policies. Appreciating Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision not to increase power and gas tariff and impose any new taxation, which would ultimately provide solace to the business community, while incentives packages would help accelerate the economic activities in the country and boost exports. Malik said that Pakistan’s economy was going through a challenging phase due to the outbreak of global COVID-19 pandemic, adding that manufacturers, traders, retailers, importers/exporters and other segments of the business community were in distress and facing huge financial losses due to the current emergency situation. However, he said the government took extraordinarily bold decisions to overcome this crisis. President UBG and former FPCCI President Zubail Tufail stressed the urgent need to enhance agricultural growth to its maximum size as Pakistan could not progress without a developed agricultural sector. “The previous governments had adopted wrong policies which resulted in increased agricultural cost and decreased revenues,” he pointed out. It was a dire need of the hour to use the modern techniques for increasing the per acre yield, adding, the government allocated record funds for the research and development activities to put the agri-sector on modern scientific lines. UBG Secretary General and former VP FPCCI Zafar Bakhtawari also appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan for allocating sufficient funds to improve the capacity of hydropower to fully ensure uninterrupted power and gas to industries for timely exports to their foreign designation. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, former SVP FPCCI and Secretary Information UBG, hoped that all irritants in the budget would be removed to the satisfaction of the business community which was the source of financial strength of the government.