LAHORE - The business community has asked the SBP to bring the discount rate to a single digit in the upcoming monetary policy scheduled for Friday (today), as the highest priority of the central bank is to make cheaper money available to the business people to boost trade and industrial activities in the country.

In a statement issued here on Thursday, All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran general secretary Naeem Mir said that in a country where the economy is facing a recession, the interest rates be brought down to stimulate growth, whereas in Pakistan it is the other way round. In the last two years interest rates in Europe and the United States have been brought down close to zero to save the economies from collapse, he added. This is the time that interest rates should be brought down to single digit to spur growth.

The traders apex body representative warned that a cut of 50 to 100 basis points would not be doing any service to the dwindling economy. It is very unfortunate that we failed to learn from the tighter monetary policy stance adopted by the State bank of Pakistan in the yester years, the statement said. He endorsed the SBP viewpoint regarding economic and power sector reforms saying the reforms should be introduced in consultation with the private sector.

He said that the ongoing electricity crisis could be overcome to some extent by controlling its pilferage. A cut in the policy rate was necessary to boost economic activities, he said. He said that all the major economies despite having higher inflation had either curtailed or were in the process of reducing interest rates to protect their respective economies.