ISLAMABAD - Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders on Thursday said demand of the export sector to devalue currency to boost exports is against the national interests.

Devaluing the weakest currency in the south Asia will increase cost of debt servicing, stoke inflation and make imports costly which are already double than the exports, said Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt.

He said that government should not compromise the interests of masses to benefit a cartel of industrialists which is addicted to subsidies, bailout packages, tax breaks etc.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that foreign debt has already touched mark of 79 billion dollars, four years ago it was 63.5 percent of the GDP but now it has reached to 66.5 percent of the GDP.

The export sector which has never accepted challenge of facing competition should improve their competitiveness leaving demand of exchange rate depreciation as it will damage masses.

He said that further erosion in the value of rupee will hit importers and masses and it will send a very negative signal. Devaluation will not support the exports as expected therefore the export industries should focus on cost reduction, skill development, value addition and upgradation, he added.

The business leader said that masses should not pay the price for the weakness of exporters and decision to appoint incompetent officials at key positions.

Irresponsible exporters are addicted to subsidies, tax breaks, bailouts while devaluing rupee will deprive them of incentive to upgrade machinery, improve quality and find new markets, he stressed.  He said the situation will lead government to borrow more to stabilise forex reserves which is a recipe for economic disaster.

FPCCI calls for promoting

domestic commerce

The Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday asked the government to promote domestic commerce to trigger economic growth. Exports are not picking up despite best efforts and heavy investment, said Chairman of FPCCI Regional Committee on Industries Atif Ikram Sheikh.

Therefore, he said, now government should focus attention on the neglected sector of domestic commerce which has thirty two percent share in the GDP while it employs twenty percent of the workers.

Atif Ikram Sheikh said that government should announce a comprehensive policy to promote domestic commerce and consider establishing a separate ministry for its promotion.

Improved domestic trade will result in expansion of businesses, employment opportunities, improved revenue and surplus production that can be exported to earn foreign exchange, he added.

The business leader said that road and rail network should be improved, GT Road should be upgraded, motorway should be made affordable for commercial vehicles, and ports as well as dry ports should be developed to make business a bit easy.

He said that the issue of intellectual property rights should also be tackled as weak implementation continues to damage local brands while legal system delays resolution of dispute for decades which is a great impediment.