(January 27, 2020)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain has asked the central bank to stop adding salt to wound and reduce the interest rate to support the declining productive sector.
A reduction in interest rates will trigger economic activities, attract investment and open doors for production as well as employment, he said.
Talking to the Prime Minister in Governor House on Monday, the veteran business leader said that the economy has been taken as hostage by political instability, high interest rates, increasing energy tariff, exchange rate erosion and hike in the price of food items.
The former minister noted that skyrocketing food inflation is pushing poverty in the country and a good number of people have no option but to spend up to sixty percent of their income on food items.
They are compromising on education, health and other necessities leaving them with little possibility to buy other items which is resulting in reduced demand and sluggish production. Exchange rate erosion, rising power and gas tariff, the increased price of petroleum products and amplified transportation costs has damaged production while the whole burden is being shifted to masses who lack the capacity to absorb the shocks.
He noted that wheat price is a benchmark for rest of the food items and if it is not controlled it will push up to the price of all food items resulting in unprecedented food inflation which can result in further economic slowdown in a situation when gas supply has disrupted for industrial sector since one and a half months.
Therefore, he said, strict action should be taken against profiteers and hoarders so that no artificial crisis can be engineered in the future. He warned that the issue of flour price should be settled as soon as possible otherwise millions will fall below the poverty line.