KARACHI - Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Abdul Majid Haji Muhammad has said any further increase in discount rate would be highly detrimental for trade and industry along with the national economy. He further said the policy discount rate is already touching the alarming level that is absolutely not viable for the business and industry to operate with progression, therefore, discount rates should not be further increased. He further expressed that Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry has always raised voice to the high-ups at Islamabad to curtail down the discount policy rate into single digit in order to augment the national economy and to fortify the trade and industrial activities, however, inclined trend in the rate is a disappointing sign and it is multiplying the economic adversity. He said that fiscal deficit is feared to increase owing to increasing trend in the discount rate and in view of the prevailing emergency situation due to torrential rainfalls and floods. The existing fiscal deficit of 6 per cent about 925 billion will further rise in the case of excessive government borrowing and persistent inflation which are main instigates for economic imbalances. Abdul Majid was of the firm opinion that the Government, to control inflation and augment the economy, must drastically cut-down their luxurious expenditures and should take austerity measures accordingly for the larger interest of the nation. He was of the view that the Government, to control and curtail inflation rate adopted policy and exercise to increase discount rate which has failed to depress the inflationary pressure on economy and as outcome several sectors are facing setback in respect of their progress, several operating under-capacity and many more fearing to closedown. He said that if further hike is seen in discount rates, he foresee another slowdown in the industrial activities as the commerce and industry was facing hard times due to energy crisis, cut-throat competition in the international market. He said that it would also affect the govt revenue as the exporters would not meet their production and export targets. He demanded the govt to slash down its expenditures and decrease the discount and inflation rate, and if not possible at least it should not further increased on this point of time, in order to save the injured economy, as the cost of manufacturing and doing business has already touched the alarming level whereby survival is extremely difficult.