ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday acknowledged that with a 22 percent rate of interest, no business can flourish, saying such a high rate of interest is fatal for commercial activities.
He said this while addressing the Pharma Export Summit and Awards (PESA-2023) organised by the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) attended by corporate heads of national and multinational pharmaceutical companies and pharma experts.
The prime minister said the time is coming for Pakistan to reduce the interest rate. Sharif stressed the need for the formulation of a balanced strategy that could lower the pricing formula of life-saving drugs and also ensure the growth of the local pharmaceutical industry.
On the occasion, he also announced constituting a committee to resolve the issues and demands of the pharma industry within two weeks. He hoped that before the completion of the constitutional term of the incumbent government, the matters pertaining to the pharma industry would be resolved amicably. The prime minister expressed confidence that the board meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this evening would help open more Letters of Credit (LCs) relating to pharma products.
He said the government was committed to protecting the poor on the one hand, besides helping the pharmaceutical sector to thrive. He said that there is no doubt that the cost of production in the country owing to various reasons has reached an alarming level and the government seriously wanted to address these issues but owing to the serious financial crunch it was not able to do so. The premier said that one of the major reasons was Pakistan’s programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The prime minister said the country’s pharmaceutical industry was playing an important role in meeting the demands of medicine. He paid tribute to the companies for propelling the export of medicines.
Because of the steep rise in the cost of raw materials, he said, the prices of medicine witnessed an upsurge. He, however, stressed that the situation must not lead to conflict with the production of life-saving drugs.
“This is just the beginning of a long journey, for which, the government, businessmen and all institutions need to work together,” he said. He said the nation could make remarkable progress if all segments work with unity within their ambits.
Regarding Saudi Arabia’s $2 billion deposit with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the prime minister appreciated Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, saying this happened “purely due to his untiring efforts”.
Shehbaz Sharif recalled that in 2016, while serving as chief minister of Punjab, he effectively carried out transparent procurement of medicines for the government hospitals, saving Rs8 billion. He mentioned that state-of-the-art laboratories were set up in the province in collaboration with a British company.
Chairman PPMA Syed Farooq Bukhari said the pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan witnessed a 25 percent growth compared to the previous year. He highlighted the economic aspect of the pharmaceutical industry and managing the supply of life-saving drugs under the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).
He also pointed out that the DRAP needed to ensure quality assurance of medicines in the markets.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023