RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has urged government to pass on the benefit of reduced oil prices in the international market to the masses.
Addressing an emergent meeting of traders on current economic situation at Chamber house here on Monday, president RCCI Saboor Malik demanded that the benefits of low oil prices in the global market must be passed on directly to the industry. Power and gas prices should be reduced. FBR and other authorities should not harass traders on the account of tax collections.
In February, inflation in Pakistan decreased by 2 percent, so current interest rate was not justified. Keeping the current 13.25% rate will increase uncertainty in the market, especially in the private sector. The government immediately announced incentive packages for the SMEs and cottage industry. Levy rates on petrol and diesel should be lowered. This is an SOS call from the business community.
He said that for industrial recovery and promotion of SMEs, it was necessary to reduce interest rates immediately.
Addressing the meeting, group leader Sohail Altaf said economic indicators including large scale manufacturing (LSM) are showing negative growth. Both real estate and auto sector are in negative. These are the sectors with which more than seventy other industries are connected.
The GSP facility will benefit when the local industry is stable. The fall in oil prices and the slowdown in the global market are providing significant opportunity for Pakistan. Such occasions are not repeated. We should not missed the opportunity here, he added.
Addressing the meeting, Malik Shahid Saleem, former president and convenor of the Tax Affairs Committee, said that the growth of export-oriented sectors is necessary to ensure loans on low terms. He said that business costs have increased manifold due to increase in electricity and gas prices. The large-scale industry is shrinking due to high rates. Immediate reduction in interest rates to increase economic activity. He welcomed suggestions on tax issues from participants. The meeting was attended with a large gathering including former presidents, representatives of trade associations and different key sectors like Real Estate, gems and Jelwelry, Auto parts, marble, furniture and garments etc.