RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has termed the policy rate cut as “discouraging” urging the government to announce a special economic aid package keeping in view the threat of a coronavirus outbreak.
The coronavirus pandemic had triggered a slowdown in the economy all over the world. “A bigger interest rate cut would have provided stimulus to the economy and it was a great opportunity to send a positive message in the financial market and restoring traders’ confidence,” he said.
RCCI President Saboor Malik in a statement said that the business community was looking forward for a significant fiscal stimulus package to help the stock market, rupee, Insurance companies, wedding halls and pharmaceutical industry along with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and sectors linked with tourism.
He said that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) could have reduced it by 200-250 basis points. More than twenty countries have introduced a major cut in the policy rate and special packages along with injecting money into financial markets to stable currency, he added. The Crude oil prices have plunged by 6% to reach $25, the lowest since 2003 and this is huge opportunity for Pakistan to avail this breathing space and pass on the benefits directly to the industry immediately, he demanded.
Given the melt down in markets and slowdown in the economy, the FBR should revisit its revenue targets, he suggested.
Trading was halted at the Pakistan Stock Exchange less than an hour as investors reacted with disappointment to the lower-than-expected cut in the policy rate announced by the central bank, he further remarked.
Traders are ready to support the government in tackling this epidemic and have taken various measures on awareness of coronavirus under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), he said.