President, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Iftikhar Ali Malik has said that SAARC region is one of the largest markets in the world and only by promoting trade among SAARC countries can poverty and unemployment be reduced from the region and the living standards of the people be improved.

Addressing the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Thursday, he said that promoting regional trade among SAARC countries would be his top priority. Iftikhar Malik said he will do his utmost to strengthen ties among the business community of SAARC countries to improve regional trade.

He also urged the government to make every effort to improve Pakistan's trade with SAARC countries which would help stabilize our economy. S.M. Munir Patron-in-Chief UBG, Zubair A.

Tufail Secretary General UBG, Sheikh Khalid Tawab, Muhammad Ahmed Waheed President, Tahir Abbasi Senior Vice President ICCI, Mian Akram Farid Chairman Founder Group, Abdul Rauf Alam, Khalid Javed, Tariq Sadiq, Chaudhry Waheed-ud-Din, Khalid Iqbal Malik, Mian Shaukat Masood, Nasir Qureshi, Zafar Bakhtawari, Karim Aziz Malik, Ahmad Hassan Mughal, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, Saboor Malik President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Sohail Altaf Group Leader RCCI, Malik Sohail Hussain Chief Coordinator UBG FPCCI, Khalid Chaudhry and others were also present at the occasion.

Founder Group hosted lunch in honor for the visiting guests. S.M. Munir, Patron-in-Chief, UGB in his address said that Pakistan's economy is currently facing severe difficulties due to Covid-19 pandemic and urged that government should focus on promoting industrialization by creating conducive environment. It will attract more investment, create new jobs, improve tax revenue and bring stability in the economy, he added.

Expressing his views, President ICCI Muhammad Ahmad Waheed said that ICCI in cooperation with SAARC CCI would play role to further enhance Pakistan’s trade with SAARC countries. He said that Pakistan has been facing frequent trade and fiscal deficits and these problems can be reduced by boosting exports. However, he said that the refunds of exporters to the tune of around Rs.250 billion are stuck up with the government due to which business community is facing difficulties in promoting exports.

Therefore, he demanded that the government should clear all the outstanding refunds of exporters to help improve exports and address the issue of trade and fiscal deficits. He said that election of Iftikhar Ali Malik as President SAARC CCI is an honor for Pakistan and hoped that under his leadership, SAARC Chamber will emerge as a stronger regional trade body to promote regional trade. Senior Vice President ICCI, Tahir Abbasi thanked President SAARC CCI Iftikhar Ali Malik, Patron-in-Chief UBG S.M. Munir and other guests for visiting the chamber.

UBG Secretary General Zubair Tufail, Sheikh Khalid Tawab, Founder Group Chairman Mian Akram Farid and others also expressed their views and demanded from the government to address the key issues of the business community on priority basis that would help in reviving the business and economic activities in the country.