RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has demanded that the government should immediately reduce interest rates by 100 basis points. The inflation rate dropped 2 percent for the month of February and at the same time, oil prices have dropped in the international market. So there is no justification for maintaining higher interest rate.
This was remarked by RCCI President Saboor Malik while addressing a meeting of traders at the Chamber house here on Tuesday. He said the business community was having high expectations from the government in reduction in petroleum prices amid global shrinkage in oil price but the relief was not passed on in its true spirit.
He demanded that the government should lower the levy rate on petrol and diesel and the benefits of lower prices in the global market can be directly reached to the common man. He said that maintaining the current 13.25% interest rate would increase the market uncertainty, especially in the private sector. The rupee depreciation has already diminished the purchasing power of common man. For industrial revival and promotion of SMEs, interest rates need to be reduced immediately.
He said that the growth of export oriented sectors can only be put on fast pace if loans on low terms being offered by the banks and added that lowering power and gas tariff will also help in reducing the cost of doing business.
He said that manufacturing costs have increased manifold due to increase in electricity and gas prices. The large-scale industry is shrinking due to high energy rates. According to government claims, the current account deficit has surpluses, and the trade deficit has decreased by more than 60%. He again urged to reduce the interest rate immediately so that economic activity can be increased.