LAHORE - The business community has advised the public to pressurize government to refrain from its current approach of rampant borrowing, which has touched the dangerous mark of Rs14 trillion, damaging the economy and thwarting the efforts of private sector to expand business.

They stated that huge loans and high debt retiring rate continued to slash rupee’s value by a great margin as the open market has now reached close to Rs.100 to the dollar.

Central & North Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry and All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran said that a $126 million decline in the country’s foreign exchange reserves was witnessed during the week. What is more discouraging for the inter-bank was the complete absence of the Central Bank which had been using influence to check the imbalances in exchange rate by injecting dollars, observed APAT general secretary Naeem Mir. Money changers are hoarding dollar and central bank is doing nothing, he added.

He said that it is the government not the trade and industry which makes banks rich in Pakistan as the profit of large private banks rose by 27 per cent during last financial year.

While the private sector shows little interest on investment due to host of reasons including deteriorating law and order including political instability, the banks argue that lending in such situation is more risky. Reluctance on part of banks deprived many sectors to invest and expand their operations which finally hit overall economic growth, he maintained.

CNWCCI President Qaisra Sheikh said that due to heavy bank borrowing by the government, industrialists were unable to avail easy credit from the banking sector and this was crippling industrial growth in the country. She disclosed that government has borrowed Rs.324 billion from scheduled banks during first five months of this year, which was 123 per cent higher than the same period of last year.

She was of the view that instead of resorting to heavy borrowing from banking sector; government should try to expand tax net by bringing all untaxed sectors into the taxation system and take policy measures for encouraging entrepreneurship culture.