ISLAMABAD-Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday called for reactivating the price control committees in local markets to control the soaring inflation.

“The holy month of Ramazan is around the corner and ICT (Islamabad Capital Territory) administration should reactivate price control committees in markets to keep the prices at reasonable level and control inflation,” said Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President ICCI. He emphasized that constitution of Islamabad Market Committee should be revised and the ICCI should be given representation in it so that joint efforts could be made to keep prices from further hike.

Moughal said that the ICT administration often imposes heavy fines on shopkeepers to control prices, but this was not a sustainable solution. He said that one of the main reasons of price hike was shortage of goods in markets due to supply chain issues. He urged that the administration should take measures to ensure smooth supply of goods from production points to the markets as timely supply of goods in markets would help in reducing unnecessary price hike.

The ICCI President said that inflation rate in Pakistan was 3.68 percent in April 2018 that had gone up to 9.41 percent by February 2019, which showed that people were suffering from higher inflation. He said that the government should take urgent remedial measures to bring down inflation. He said that rising inflation always resulted into reduced purchasing power of people that caused low purchasing and further slump in business activities. Therefore, controlling inflation is very important for smooth growth of business activities, he said.

Rafat Farid, Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi, Vice President, ICCI said that government had hiked the prices of electricity, gas and petroleum products due to which cost of doing business had increased manifold. They said that Pakistan was facing rising trade deficit and the best solution of this problem was to boost exports.

However, they said that due to rising production cost, our exports were facing stiff competition in international markets which was evident from the fact that in March 2019, exports declined by over 11 percent.

 They emphasized that government should bring down power tariff and prices of POL products in order to reduce cost of doing business. It will cause reduction in inflation and give boost to business and economic activities, they opined.