Speaking at a special conference hosted by the chamber yesterday he said that attracting foreign investors at a time like this is very good. “Bu it should be done giving equal fair play to local investors and entrepreneurs and safeguarding their investments.”
He said that local industries are facing tremendous hardships not only because of lockdown but also due to escalating costs. “The proposed fuel hike will further increase prices in most of the items and also reduce the buying power of the public and it will lead to a hike in inflation as well.”
Fernando said that while air freight is almost beyond the reach of exporters, sea freight too is very expensive and in scarcity.”
The CNCI head also said the banks too have manipulated the moratoria offered by the government and are making huge profits along with shipping companies while the industrialists have no proper solution in site. He also said that the rupee devaluation and depleting foreign reserves too are a major concern. He said that while the imported items needed for raw materials have skyrocketed the price of the final product has not changed hence profit making is thinning.
“We also observe moves by the employees asking for a salary hike. This is fair from their point of view but industries cannot afford such an increase at this juncture.”
Asked to comment on the budget and their expectations he said that successive previous budgets have imposed taxes and what they expect is some relief measures for industries. “Also we need a long term tax structure that does not change every year or with a change of government.”
He also said there were some good initiatives by the government like moving to organic fertilizer but the implementation method of this is very poor and is causing huge issues as it takes around three years for organic fertilizer to take off.
Kevin Edwards, Deputy Chairman said that local industries must be supported in a bigger way as the government must remember when products are manufactured locally that items don’t have to be imported saving forex. “Locally manufactured shoes are one simple example,” he said.