October 1, 2018: Ahmed Hassan Moughal on has taken over the onus of President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the year 2018-19 in a handing over ceremony held at Chamber House.
During the occasion, he emphasized that his focus will mostly be on further strengthening the research and development wing of the chamber to support small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) and new start-ups.
He requested the business community to continue sending him proposals to further improve the functions of the chamber for their facilitation.
With regard to recent monetary policy by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), he said that the hike in target policy rate by 100 basis points in one go to 8.5 percent would increase the credit cost for private sector and hamper the growth of business activities.
He said that SBP interest rate affected all other interest rates in the economy making bank borrowing more expensive for the private sector.
It would translate into further slowdown in the pace of economic activity, especially at a time when Pakistan badly needed to accelerate economic growth for sustainable development, he added.
He called upon the government to revise the hike in SBP interest rate so that private sector could avail easy credit facility for expansion and growth.
The newly appointed senior vice president Raffat Farid and vice president ICCI Iftikhar Anwar Sethi said SME sector was the backbone of Pakistan's economy in terms of contribution to GDP, employment generation and export promotion, therefore, the government should take measures to further strengthen the SMEs.
They said that due to high credit cost, share of SMEs in total private sector credit was already just 6 to 8 percent while the recent hike SBP key policy rate would further enhance credit cost for SMEs.
They urged that government should reconsider increase in SBP interest rate and focus on providing SMEs easy access to finance along with easing out the conditions of collateral in order to help SMEs and start-ups to flourish and play more effective role in the economic development of the country.