Entrepreneurs demand single digit interest rate to promote business activities

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Islamabad, OCT 15 /DNA/ – Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) said that the State Bank of Pakistan has made significant hike in the policy interest rate due to which business activities are shrinking and if this situation continues, our economy will weaken more more in the coming days while the investment will also be discouraged, so he demanded the government to bring the interest rate into single digit so that business can be promoted with ease and the economy can come out of current difficulties. He expressed these views while addressing a delegation of Jhelum Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which visited ICCI led by its President Malik Khawar Shehzad to congratulate the new Office Bearers of ICCI.

Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari said that currently the interest rate in Thailand is 1%, Taiwan 1.63%, Malaysia 2.5%, South Korea 3%, China 3.65%, Vietnam 5%, Bangladesh 5.75% and India 5.9%, but the interest rate in Pakistan is 15% which is the highest in the region, which is a major obstacle in the way of promoting business activities. He said that the best way to bring Pakistan’s economy out of trouble is to significantly increase exports, but this is very difficult to do in an environment of high interest rate. Therefore, he strongly demanded that the government should bring down the interest rate to single digit which will increase business and investment activities and help improve the economy.

Malik Khawar Shehzad, President, Jhelum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) said in his address that due to high interest rate, high prices of POL & utility tariffs and other factors, business and industrial activities are facing great difficulties due to which about 1600 textile factories have been closed. Therefore, he demanded the government to take concrete steps to promote ease of doing business and reduce the interest rate significantly, otherwise more businesses would close down. He said that due to the increase in the interest rate, the country’s debt also increases many times. He said that Pakistan’s debt, which was 48 billion dollars in 2008, has now increased to 116 billion dollars, which is alarming.

ICCI Group Leader Khalid Iqbal Malik, JCCI Group Leader Raja Anwar, FPCCI Vice President Qazi Akbar, Zafar Bakhtawari, Zubair Ahmad Malik, Mohammad Ijaz Abbasi, Malik Sohail Hussain and others also spoke at the occasion. They stressed that the government should make a future strategy in consultation with the business community to promote business and economic activities so that Pakistan can be put on the path of better development and growth.