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LAHORE: President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik on Wednesday expressing his grave concern said ongoing political upheaval, rupee depreciation, widening trade deficit and withholding of IMF tranche inflicting heavy losses to economy.

Presiding over core committee meeting of the United Business Group (UBG) in the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, he said IMF tactfully withheld due tranche on the pretext of dissolution of government in Pakistan. He said political turmoil is also badly hitting the already bleak economy which is also directly responsible for quick depreciation of Pak rupee besides plunging of stock exchange.

He lamented that trade deficit also widened 70 percent to $ 35.4 billion in the first three quarters of the current fiscal year against $ 60 billion and this ever increasing trend must be arrested to save the fractured economy.

He said whole of the business community is completely worried about the prevailing sorry state of affairs and he being a top trade leader of the South Asian demands immediate enforcement of proposed charter of economy to avert any economic disaster.

Iftikhar Ali Malik who is also chairman UBG cautioned that survival of nuclear armed Pakistan exclusively rested on sound economy. Quoting USSR, he said it was dismembered absolutely because of economic fall out. He said business community, a backbone of the economy, will continue play its role in national development but political stability and business-friendly environment are key factors for smooth flow of foreign direct investments and business.

He said although exports jumped 25 percent to reach $ 23 billion in the first nine months of current fiscal year while in March, it grew 16 percent to $ 2.74 billion from $ 2.36 billion in the last corresponding period. But what we direly needed is forthwith clamping complete ban on luxury items and fostering exports to shrink trade deficit to some extent.

He said worldwide political stability is pre-requisite for sustainable economic growth. He said higher degree of inflation also reduces economic growth besides adding miseries to the life of poor strata of the society. He said he firmly believed in the promotion of democracy, supremacy of the Constitution, rule of law and also attached great importance to national interests above his life.

He said business community is his strength and will continue to safeguard their interests and will do and die for his motherland which was carved out after offering colossal sacrifices by out ancestors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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