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PESHAWAR: Business community has expressed concern over the rising power and gas tariffs, unprecedented hike in dollar rates, inflation and persistent issue of opening Letter of Credits (LCs), describing the prevailing crisis as result of ‘flawed’ economic policies that had been imposed without proper consultation with the community and stakeholders.

Talking to this scribe here on Sunday, President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Muhammad Ishaq said that owing to ‘flopped” economic policies of the incumbent government, businesses, trade and exports/ imports sectors were facing problems due to non-opening of Letter of Credits (LCs) by commercial banks, brining negative impacts on economic growth.

SCCI chief said that the rising prices of electricity, gas and petroleum products and hike in policy rate by State Bank of Pakistan, and rise in banks’ margin have further aggravated the economic conditions.

Ishaq noted that the present government had made claims about putting the economy on the right track without consultation with the business community and relevant stakeholders but measures taken for improvement in the economy have yet not yielded any tangible and positive results.

Furthermore, he observed that industrialists, small traders and shopkeepers are being faced with enormous difficulties because of enforcement of ‘anti-business’ policies. He added doing business and trade has not only made difficult but impossible in the prevailing circumstances.

The SCCI chief claimed that the government has planned to present a proposed ‘mini-budget’, worth billions of rupees with heavy taxes.

He predicted that prices of electricity, gas and petroleum would be further increased through the ‘mini-budget’, which would be unaffordable for business, trade, industries and exports of the country.

Ishaq termed the proposed mini- an unwise step in the present scenario and urged the government to review its decision in the best interest of the country’s economy, businesses and trade. He attributed the rising dollar rate, petroleum, gas and electricity prices as the main reason behind the current inflation and economic owes.

The chamber president criticized the government for bringing the national economy on the brink of destruction.

Despite the depressing economic conditions, he added, the government didn’t consult with the business community to fix the country’s economy. He, furthermore, warned complete closure of industries, businesses and ending of trade as a result of present anti-business policies.

The SCCI chief made it clear that if the government failed reviewing its policies and holding consultation with the business community for fixing the economy, the traders would have no other option but to take harsh and aggressive steps.

He urged the government to review its decision of the unprecedented hike in prices of petroleum products. He also demanded to bring new people in the tax net instead of further burdening the existing taxpayers with fresh taxes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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