ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), while expressing apprehension over the downgrading of credit rating of Pakistan’s economy by the Moody’s from stable to negative, has termed it an unfortunate development as it reflected that Pakistani economy was heading towards serious troubles and called upon the government to take urgent remedial measures to improve the economic outlook of the country.

President ICCI Sheikh Amir Waheed said on Friday that Pakistan’s prosperous future was linked with a strong economy and the caretaker government should work on war footing basis to bring stability into the economy. He said the main reason of downgrading of the rating of Pakistan’s economy was that during the eleven months of the current financial year, Pakistan’s trade deficit has widened by almost $34 billion and current account deficit has witnessed 43 percent increase. He said that the foreign indebtedness of the country has reached a dangerous level of 70 percent of the GDP and foreign direct investment has declined by 1.3 percent during the eleven months of this fiscal year.

Sheikh Amir Waheed cautioned that if the economy continued to become fragile, the country would have to resort to IMF that would not be in the larger interest of the Pakistan. He said the country’s foreign debt has crossed $92 billion marked, but it has not played any positive role in strengthening our economy. He said that resorting to more foreign debt would plunge the country into further troubles and stressed that instead of making heavy reliance on foreign debt, the government should focus on indigenous resources of the country to improve the economy. The rpesident ICCI urged that government should take measures to broaden the tax base and provide all possible cooperation and support to the private sector in improving exports so that with the improvement in revenue and forex reserves of the country, our economy could be able to get sustainable growth.

SVP ICCI M Naveed Malik and VP Nisar Mirza said that billions of rupees of exporters were stuck up with the government in refunds. They urged that the government should clear all pending refund claims of exporters so that with the improvement in liquidity, they could be facilitated in enhancing exports of the country.