ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that the the prices of consumer goods have further increased in December due to which the inflation has gone up to 12.3 per cent recording the largest increase in nearly two years, which should be a cause of concern for the policymakers. He said that in December the prices of many food items including cooking oil, fruits, gram whole, gram flour, milk, mustard oil, vegetable ghee, fish, rice and pulses have increased that would put more pressure on the common man. He called upon the government to take urgent measures for controlling the inflation as the rising inflation was squeezing the purchasing power of consumers that would cause further slump in the business activities and affect the growth of the economy. He said this while talking to Tariq Ali Khan, Managing Director, Dogar Publishers and Anwar Sohail Khan during their visit to ICCI.
Muhammad Shakeel Munir said that the government has proposed to withdraw tax exemptions of Rs.343 billion in the mini-budget and if it was passed by the parliament, it would give further rise to the inflation as it would increase tax on hundreds of items. He said that the government has also increased tax on the import of machinery of many industrial sectors including mining that would make it difficult to upgrade and develop industries. He said that the best option for Pakistan to get rid of the debt issue was to upgrade the industry for producing value-added products and increase exports. However, an increase in tax on import of industrial machinery would thwart the efforts of industrial upgradation and slowdown economic growth of the country. He stressed that the government should avoid taking such anti-business decisions.
Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh, Senior Vice President ICCI said that the unprecedented surge in oil prices, hefty hike in policy interest rate, frequent increase in electricity & gas tariffs, constantly falling value of rupee and high taxes were the major factors that have given rise to high inflation and urged that the government should address these factors on priority basis. He emphasized that the government should evolve a comprehensive price control mechanism in consultation with all stakeholders to save the economy from further plunge.
Muhammad Faheem Khan, Vice President ICCI said that the shrinking purchasing power of the consumers due to rising inflation was taking a big hit on the business activities and businesses would face losses. He urged that SBP should rationalize interest rates as tight monetary policy has failed to control the rising prices of food items. He said that the mini-budget would give rise to more inflation for the common man and stall the growth of business activities and urged that the government should withdraw it to save the people and the businesses from further troubles.