LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) after due consultation with stakeholders and economic experts has given a five-point solution to ongoing economic crisis that is if acted upon could put the economy back on rails. In a statement issued here on Monday, the LCCI President Mian Muzaffar Ali, Senior Vice President Tahir Javaid Malik and Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh suggested the government to take immediate measures to cut down mark-up rate, ensure continuous supply of energy to the industrial sector, wear off inflationary pressure, improve law and order situation and above all steps need to be taken to bring political and economic stability. Elaborating their suggestions, the LCCI office-bearers said that the existing high mark-up rate was not only hitting the country's competitiveness in the global market but was also coming in the way of industrialization which is a prerequisite to progress and prosperity. They said that that keeping in view the fast increasing trade gap, the government should force the State Bank of Pakistan to announce cut in mark-up rate immediately. They further suggested that the State Bank of Pakistan in consultation with all the Chambers in the country should evolve long-term policies for extending loans to the business community as it has been proven that a large number of businesses had fallen prey to ad hoc policies. The LCCI office-bearers said that at the moment when the rate of interest was showing downward trend in most of the developed and developing countries including US (0.25 per cent), UK (1.5 per cent), Canada (1.5 per cent), Australia (4.25 per cent), Japan (0.1 per cent), China (5.58 per cent), India (5.5 per cent) and Bangladesh (7.61 per cent), the interest rate in Pakistan has jumped to 13.5 per cent in November 2008 to 15 per cent plus banking spread up to 8.3 per cent that is putting a very negative impact on industrial sector. They said that all the times, the mark-up rate is increased under the pretext of high inflation while controlling the inflation is not the job of industrialists but it is purely an assignment of State Bank of Pakistan, which is playing the role of a silent spectator. While quoting the example of GDP growth in China and India, the LCCI office-bearers said that the government should provide level-playing field to Pakistani manufacturers so that they could be able to earn much needed foreign exchange for the country. The LCCI office-bearers said that if immediate measures were not taken the situation would get out of hands and economic turnaround would become a dream. Over the energy situation, the LCCI office-bearers said that a large number of industrial units had already closed down their operations due to acute shortage of electricity and gas while the remaining were on the verge of closure. They said that the situation had turned so bad that industry has no money to pay the salaries and utility bills and there is a dire need that the steps should be taken on war-footing to avert mass lay-offs, they added. The LCCI Office-bearers said that poor management and lack of political will on part of the government were also the major contributors to the ongoing crisis. They said that the country direly needs wholesome measures to arrest fast increasing inflation as surge in inflation had not only eroded the purchasing power of middle class but was also earning a bad name for the government. They said that the inflation could only be controlled by enhancing productivity and by putting curbs on undue expenditures. The LCCI office-bearers particularly expressed their grave concern over negative growth in Large Scale Manufacturing Sector (LSM) saying that rationalization of duties are the steps to bring the LSM sector out of mire but despite repeated request no attention was given. They said that deterioration in law and order situation and political and economic instability were the other major causes of manufacturing sector decline. There is no doubt in it that the government is seriously monitoring the economic situation and taking appropriate measures but it should convene a meeting of representatives of all trade bodies to ensure proper implementation of its policies.