LAHORE - The traders and businessmen on Tuesday threatened to handover keys of their industrial units to the government within two weeks if 40 per cent cut in electricity prices would not be notified. President Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Mohammad Ali Mian made the announcement while addressing a press conference on the conclusion of daylong All Pakistan Trade Bodies Conference. The conference, chaired by Mohammad Ali Mian, was attended by a large number of business leaders including Presidents of Chambers and Chairmen of the Associations belonging to all sectors of the economy. LCCI Senior Vice-President Mian Muzaffar Ali and Vice-President Shafqat Saeed Piracha were also present on the occasion. The business community also appealed to the government not to accept IMF standby facility if it is accompanied with strict conditions. They said if the IMF facility is unavoidable, the business community should be taken into confidence and all the conditions of the fund should be made public. The business community leaders called upon the government to cut its expenditures by 50 percent that would ultimately help overcome current credit deficit. They said that the benefit of decline in oil prices at international market should be shifted to industry and the masses. The LCCI President urged the State Bank of Pakistan to provide a six-month moratorium on mark-up and also freeze interest rate at 10 per cent simultaneously so that the businesses could able to get some ground. He said that the import of unnecessary luxury and finished goods should be banned with immediate effect to save the precious foreign exchange that had been depleted to alarming levels. Only the import of raw material should be allowed to curtail trade deficit. "0.3 per cent withholding tax on cheques should be withdrawn immediately so that the businessmen could use the banking channels," he added. Exchange rate issue has caused severe dent to the business viability so the issue should be given priority and be solved with the consultation of all the stakeholders. Ever-highest electricity tariff must be brought down keeping in view the affordability of the consumers. The recent 60 per cent increase in the power tariff has pushed hundreds of industrial units on the verge of closure. He urged the government to utilise all the available alternate resources to bridge fast widening demand and supply gap. And there should be some check on unnecessary usage of electricity at marriage halls and streetlights and electricity theft in Karachi should be stopped. He said that if the government was planning gas loadshedding from November 15 to February 15, it should come up with some relief package for bulk users of gas after seeking suggestions of the stakeholders. Rs 40 billion cross subsidy that was putting a very negative impact on textile sector should be stopped immediately, the LCCI President said. All the businessmen were unanimously demanded the government for the restoration of the confidence of the business community that has been doing business despite all odds. The issues relating o Pak-Afghan border should be solved amicably through negotiations as any other solution is bound to hit the very economic fabric of the country. Transportation of wheat flour from Punjab should be streamlined and the provincial government should announce some methodology in this regard in consultation with NWFP Chamber of Commerce and Industry, they said.