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LAHORE: President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik on Thursday urged the government to check widening trade deficit by fully discouraging the flow of unnecessary imports burdening the national kitty.

Talking to a delegation of traders led by Meher Kashif Younis, former senior vice president Lahore Chamber said the deficit has been expanded mainly due to soaring imports, dwindling workers’ remittances and surging debt payments. He said trade deficit rose nine percent while remittances dropped 15 percent recently.

He said worrying situation is that foreign inflows have been dying up fast which badly needs special focus to be checked on top priority. He said the trade deficit in goods and services increased to $27.35 billion during first seven months of current fiscal against $ 14.81 billion in previous corresponding period. He said government in order to avert ugly situation, introduces emergency measures such as restrictions on imports.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said set of such measures may have little bit temporary impact but not a durable solution to the problem. He is of the considered opinion that unless structural reforms are implemented in true letter and spirit to boost exports and woo foreign direct investment, we will periodically continue to face long periods of bust after every brief boom in the economy, he added.

Meher Kashif Younis said an upward trend in the trade deficit was witnessed in the first eighth months of current financial year which is 82 percent year on year to $ 31.96 billion largely driven by more than a double increase in imports which he added this trend must be arrested to help stabilise national economy. He said although government is stakeholders into confidence on all important policy making decisions but draconian measures are only way out to control ever increasing unnecessary imports without which we can live.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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