Mar 18, 2020: President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Muhammad Ahmed Waheed, Wednesday urged the government to reduce policy interest rate to single digit level in order to save businesses from the negative impact of coronavirus.
He said that coronavirus had caused significant slowdown in business activities in Pakistan due to closure of borders, therefore, businesses urgently needed low interest rate to sustain business activities and plan for expansion.
He said due to impact of coronavirus, US, Canada, UK, China and many other countries had cut interest rates, but SBP had reduced policy interest rate by only 75 basis points which was very insufficient.
Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that USA have brought down interest rate to almost zero level and announced a program of $700 billion to save economy from further troubles.
Similarly, Australia has announced a stimulus package of $17 billion, but no solid relief measures had been announced in Pakistan for business sector as yet.
He said IMF and other international institutions had predicted for further slowdown in the economic growth of Pakistan due to coronavirus and in these circumstances, government should immediately reduce interest rate to single digit level to stimulate business activities.
He said that oil prices in international market had come down significantly and urged that government should pass on their full benefit to the general public for reducing POL prices in the country. It would also bring down production cost and reduce inflation for people.
Tahir Abbasi Senior Vice President and Saif ur Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI said that to cope with the challenges of coronavirus, many countries had announced stimulus measures for private sector and Pakistan should also come up with some supportive measures for businesses in the country.
They also emphasized that keeping in view the current difficulties caused by coronavirus, IMF should either waive off Pakistan’s debt or reschedule it for long-term period to enable Pakistan to save its economy from further problems.