–Need at least 5pc cut in the interest rate by SBP, businessmen say
–Utility bills must be allowed to be paid late, in installments: ICCI
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) business community on Wednesday hailed the government’s decision to reduce the prices of petroleum products by Rs15 per litre as it would provide good relief to the inflation-stricken people but is hoping for further steps to be taken for their relief.
According to the details, they urged the government to further cut the interest rate and also extend same special monetary package for small-medium enterprises (SMEs) sector in order to ease the problems of the business community that has been hit by the emerging crisis caused by the coronavirus.
ICCI President Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that the business community was expecting a significant cut in the interest rate but the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reduced it by 1.5 per cent only, saying that it should be brought down to at least 5 per cent for providing satisfactory relief to the business community.
He also urged the government to reduce prices of gas and electricity for commercial and industrial consumers, allowing them to pay bills in instalments as well.
He said that many industrial units have made required payments of imported raw material, but due to restrictions on transportation, their raw material was lying at ports while they have to pay banks mark ups and other charges.
He demanded that government should orders deferring the receipt of banks mark up and demurrages for at least six months so that businesses could be able to sail through the current difficult situation that would provide the business community with some relief in this tough situation.
The ICCI president said that in the prevailing conditions, it was difficult for businesses to meet the domestic orders and added that cut in the utility charges for commercial and industrial consumers would reduce their problems to some extent.
Similarly, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz while addressing small industrialists and traders through video link here from the chamber house said that the small industries and businesses have closed down and are facing immense financial losses amid the outbreak in KP.
He demanded the government to include SMEs in the relief package in order to avoid further fiscal loss.
While ICCI Senior Vice President (VC) Tahir Abbasi and ICCI VC Saifur Rehman Khan thanked the government for reducing petrol prices by Rs15 per litre saying it would ease a few difficulties being faced by both businessmen and the masses, the SCCI president termed the reduction in interest rate as insufficient to mitigate the sufferings of businessmen and investors.
He called to bring down the markup rate to single digit in the upcoming fiscal budget for 2020-21 in the larger interest of trade, industry and economy and also demanded a two week extension in the payment of electricity and gas bills of small industries as well as deferment in loans of commercial institutions worth billions of rupees.
“We also require a reduction in taxes, especially for small and medium industries and businesses,” he added.
However, both parties welcomed the stimulus package announced by Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan and said that the business community would be able to give its full reaction on it once they go through all details.
They said that the business community was standing with the government in this tough time and would fully cooperate with it in mitigating the problems of the general public.