ISLAMABAD   -   The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has called upon the government to take solid measures in the forthcoming budget to reduce inflation as rising inflation has significantly squeezed the purchasing power of people due to which business activities were badly suffering.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, Rafat Farid, Senior Vice President, and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said that during the PTI government, inflation has increased manifold due to which business centers and markets were facing sufficient slowdown in purchasing activities even in Eid days and this situation was a cause of great concerns for business community.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that government has twice increased prices of POL products while rates of gas and electricity have also been enhanced. He said the value of rupee has depreciated sufficiently while policy interest rate has also been hiked. All these measures have given rise to great inflation apart from enhancing the cost of doing business. He said that Pakistan’s exports were already struggling and growth of businesses was mostly dependent on the domestic market. But due to rising inflation, purchasing activity has gone down sharply causing slump in business activities. He said if this trend continued, there would be further slowdown in economy, therefore, he urged that government should devise a comprehensive strategy to reduce inflation and improve the purchasing power of consumers in order to facilitate the growth of business activities that would result into to early revival of economy.

ICCI President said that hiking power tariffs and prices of POL products was not a right approach to cope with fiscal deficit as these measures have always taken a heavy toll on the economy. He emphasized that in the next budget, government should not impose more taxes on existing taxpayers, rather it should focus on broadening the tax base that was the right approach to improve tax revenue. He said instead of enhancing tariffs and prices, government should take steps to create conducive environment for business activities that was the way forward to reduce trade and fiscal deficits, create new jobs, encourage more investment, improve exports and enhance tax revenue of the country.