LAHORE – The major industries in Pakistan, including cement, textile, poultry and auto engineering sectors, have shown their disappointment over just half per cent cut in discount rate, as they were expecting policy rate to be brought down to at least single digit level. “Just half per cent reduction interest rate has dashed all our hopes for good times to come while all major countries have made drastic cut in interest rates to stimulate their economies,” observed Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association Chairman Aizaz Mansoor Sheikh.Mansoor, who has been re-elected as central chairman for the second time consecutively, regretted that government was still obsessed with tight monetary policy, which was proving very harmful for promoting business and economic activities in the country.He pointed out that industry was facing unprecedented challenges due to high mark up rate and many other factors but government was not ready to facilitate industry in this respect, as the reduction made by the SBP in interest rate was just a peanut. APTMA newly-elected Central Chairman Ahsan Bashir viewed the availability of cheaper liquidity to the business community is need of the hour as the SBP tight monetary mantra in the name of financial discipline caused irreparable dent to the private sector growth and brought in an unusual surge in unemployment, he added.He observed that neither any industrial expansion took place nor any investor put money in any new business venture. And one of the reasons was unavailability of cheaper money to the private sector, he added.He also called for measures to overcome energy crisis, security challenges and political instability to make interest rate cut meaningful and result oriented. If these factors are not taken into account, they will continue to create problems for the economy in general and for the private sector in particular, he stated.Pakistan Poultry Association ex-chairman Abdul Basit said that there was a dire need to make hefty cut in the interest rate which would help boost up trade and industrial activities in the country which were at their lowest ebb due to multiple reasons including acute energy shortage. He said with reduction in discount rate, the financial cost of businessmen would come down and they would be able to pay back their loans with some ease. He said high oil prices were the main cause of high inflation and stressed for the need of reducing oil prices along with slashing government profit on petroleum products. He said inflation would not decline until the oil prices are reduced in proportion to their reduction in international market. He also stressed upon the banks to provide easy credit on soft terms to large scale manufacturing because due to non-availability of banks loaning facility, LSM is showing negative growth which is not a healthy sign for the economy. LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar termed 50-basis point cut in markup as meager and half-hearted attempt to rejuvenate economy as the industry wants State Bank to bring it to single digit. He said that the SBP Governor should have taken some bold steps and curtailed it to at least 150 basis points. “The decrease will hardly improve the local investment scenario.”For government, it means decrease in debt-servicing costs as it is the biggest borrower. The slash in interest rate in August last trimmed the government debt-servicing by over Rs 40 billion. But for the private sector it is not very encouraging.He also urged the Governor State Bank of Pakistan to review all other economy related banking policies and facilitate the private sector that is engine of the growth. In the developed economies, the markup rate is in single digit and is maintained at all costs.