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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Sunday asked all the political parties to take the current economic situation very seriously and come forward to find an amicable solution to the ongoing crises.

In a first of its move in the country the business community of the federal capital has decided to take a lead to pressurise the political leaders in country to devise a “Charter of Economy”, so that there remains consistency in economic policies- irrespective of political change.

Past presidents and senior leaders of the ICCI, held a press conference here in the National Press Club, and announced that the ICCI will hold an “All Parties Conference for Revival of Economy on August 6.

Addressing the news conference Muhammad Shakeel Munir, president ICCI said that the grave economic situation faced by the country was nothing short of threat to the stability of the nation.

“The current economic meltdown is clear to you all, everybody is worried the whole nation is under the stress,” Munir said adding, “But the most serious problem is that multilateral donors as well as friendly countries were reluctant to help Pakistan and this was a clear sign that a massive storm for the economy has arrived.”

Highlighting that apart from the overall economic situation faced by Pakistan which includes energy shortage, high inflation, heavy debts many things were not visible to the general public and their chain reaction can have serious consequences in the overall retail end, which will eventually hurt the consumers.

President ICCI said that the restrictions by the State Bank of Pakistan upon letter of Credit (LC) and sharp declining foreign currency reserves can lead to a situation where goods and items will be in short supply in the markets.

“Such a situation will lead to public outcry and law and order situation mainly urban areas where the economy is totally based on consumerism,” he said.

He announced that in wake of the ground realities the Islamabad Chamber has decided to reach-out to all concerned decision makers and seek a solution to the economic crises.

“We are organising an All Parties Conference in this regard on August 6, Saturday to highlight these issues with the decision makers,”

While Khalid Iqbal Malik, former president ICCI and Group Chairman, said that the Conference is an a-political event and it was to bring all those who matter at one page, because the current situation can lead to threats to the stability of the country.

“We want everyone including business community, politicians, general public and even the state institutions at one page to seek a way out and ensure that such a situation for the economy does not happen again.” Malik added, “We are not into any political great game nor are we here to extend support to any party.”

He said, “There is a need to reduce this political polarisation and bring all the parties in the Parliament and the provincial assemblies at one stage to discuss way forward and steer the country out of the economic crises.”

The ICCI has already started discussions with several economists seeking their input and collective thought of experts will be presented in the conference.

Zubair Malik highlighted the importance of the conference and said that situation demands that everybody has to play their part to get the country out of the current situation.

He said, country was already facing an economic emergency and among other things there was a need to reform the attitude of bureaucracy and the FBR.

“This is the first step by the ICCI to raise a non-political and technical voice and like all citizens it was our responsibility as business community to come forward and help find a solution,” he said.

He announced that the technical suggestions finalised at the end of Revival of Economy Conference will be shared with all other Chambers of country and the FPCCI, as well as Provincial governments.

The ICCI is confident that the deliberations of the Conference will implemented without political prejudice for the betterment of economy.

“We want all political parties to understand that changes in the government does not mean changes in economic policies,” Zubair Malik said.

He said that consistency of policies was one of the key demands of local and foreign investors from all governments in Pakistan.

The past presidents present at the occasion included Ijaz Abbasi, Amir Waheed, Mr Ahmed Waheed, Shaban Khalid, and other senior office bearers of the ICCI.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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