ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) on Sunday expressed concern over the erosion in the exchange rate as dollar is being sold at Rs108 in the open market.

The local currency is shedding value despite the assurances of the government that it has no plan to devalue the currency and the efforts of the central bank, it said. The value of the dollar should be brought down for which the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) should stop lip service and start taking action as the outcome of the meetings between central bankers and the currency dealers were short-lived, said Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Patron Shahid Rasheed Butt.

He said that masses seem mad about converting their savings into dollar which is a dangerous tendency that the government must reverse. He said that the difference in the value of interbank and market rate has jumped to Rs2.50 which is enough to encourage illegal channels. Some dealers are also forwarding wrong reports to the central bank about the value of the dollar which warrants an action against them, he demanded.

He said that the decision of the government to reduce the value of dollar is in line with the national interests was laudable but it has not been implemented. The masses have purchased around $800 million during the last three months resulting in a crisis-like situation prompting the government to intervene and reduce the value of the dollar by one rupee in two or three phases which is praiseworthy if implemented, he said.